The Power of Choice During Trying Times
With a national state of emergency in place, many people are feeling more anxious and unsettled.
As I sat and watched the news and scrolled through Facebook the last few days, I noticed quite a dichotomy. Some stories and posts were uplifting, while some were insensitive and downright mean, in my opinion.
I began thinking about human behavior and how ultimately our lives come down to the choices we make every day.
I was reminded that I want to do my best to make choices every day that will support the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of me and my family.
Will I always make the right choices? Of course not! I’m human. There are so many things that affect how we behave and what we choose to do or not to do. I believe most people do the best they can, so offering grace to ourselves and others can be quite inspiring and refreshing.
So how can you take care of yourself and your loved ones during this time of uncertainty?
Below are a few suggestions:
- Begin by thanking God for His love, mercy, and goodness. Pray for our government leaders to make the right decisions to protect our nation. Then ask Him for protection from this virus and any other harmful situation. My go to Scripture is Psalm 91. Using your family members names as you recite it is so personal and powerful. Remember He is ultimately in control.
- Practice Gratitude – Make a list of ALL of your blessings and meditate on how blessed you really are. I know everyone has their problems, but if you compare yourself to someone in an under developed country, I think your perspective may change. I dare you not to feel better after doing this exercise.
- Practice kindness and forgiveness – Rather than arguing with or getting upset with someone who has a different viewpoint than you, offer grace and understanding. Holding grudges or getting into a verbal battle honestly doesn’t change or help the situation. Accept that we are all different and honor those differences rather than tear each other down because of them.
- Breathe – Focus on the quality of your breath by sitting quietly and relaxing your body. Imagine your inhalation bringing life and health into your cells and your exhalation ridding your body of any foreign substances.
- Get enough sleep – Quality sleep is underrated – it strengthens your immune system, curbs your cravings, and helps you to handle stress better. Indulge in a 15-20-minute nap when you feel tired. Check out my Supercharge Your Sleep guide for practical tips about how to get better sleep.
- Eat whole, unprocessed food – I know it is so tempting to eat comfort food when you are nervous (I really do understand!) but pause and ask yourself if you are really hungry. If you are, choose healthy food that will strengthen your immune system and help your body deal with the added amount of stress. Nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh fruit and veggies are all great snack choices for the entire family.
- Move your body and get some fresh air and sunshine – Spending time in nature has been linked to decreased stress so load up on natural vitamin D, which also helps strengthen your immune system. Go bird watching, look for and draw different spring flowers that are beginning to bloom, go for a hike or bike ride. Remember, you don’t need an expensive gym membership to exercise. Make a contest with your family about how many steps you can walk or how many flights of stairs you can climb in a day. One of my favorite pieces of exercise equipment is a rebounder (JumpSport In Home Cardio Fitness Rebounder) but if you don’t have one, try jumping rope. It just might make you feel like a kid again while doing something great for your lymphatic system.
- Spend quality time with your family – play board games, cook a healthy meal together (great time to teach kids about the benefits of healthy eating), clean out your closets and make donation boxes, learn something new as a family, have a dance party, have your children write thank you notes to special people in their lives, play outside, spring clean the garage, plan a small garden: till the land and order your seeds online, the ideas are endless!
- Laugh! Make a bowl of popcorn and put on your favorite comedy, play charades, or have a tickle fight.
- Pick up the phone and actually call or Facetime a loved one or old friend – hearing the voices and seeing the faces of those we love can bring us much comfort during a time of uncertainty.
- Do something kind for someone – offer to help an elderly neighbor with their shopping, offer to help friends with childcare or meals, or simply smile and be patient with others
- Take a break from the news and social media sites that increase your anxiety or tension.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it gives you some ideas of activities to engage in while you are spending more time at home, waiting expectantly for a resolution to this pandemic.
Remember, we all can choose how we handle this situation as well as any other trial that may come our way. As a Christian, I look to Jesus for my hope. Although he warned of trouble (“In this world you will have trouble”), He also gave us eternal hope (“But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33).
My hope and prayer are that God leads each of us to make the wisest choices not only during this time, but every day so that we can live abundant lives full of joy and peace.
May God bless each of you and your loved ones with continued good health!