COVID-19 & Our Mental Health
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
By Cara Papay
[Editors note: If you or someone you know is especially distressed through this time, please reach out to us, or contact a local mental health provider. Many counselors are still meeting with clients by phone & other means.]
As a mental health professional at a local Christian college, I have seen the impacts that this global pandemic can have on our overall mental well-being. Everything has been changing so very rapidly and we are often left feeling like we just can't keep up with all of the information coming at us. We are often left feeling worried for our families and ourselves, consumed by the media, and feeling disconnected from loved ones.
We are now working from home (if we are able to work at all). We are homeschooling our kids. We are carefully planning out our grocery shopping trips and only going out when we really need to. Our high school seniors may not get to walk across the stage for commencement— what a momentous occasion they will be missing out on! Our college seniors are missing their last collegiate sports seasons and activities that they have worked so hard for. We are grieving losses that we could have never predicted.
We are wondering "Is this blown out of proportion?" or we are asking ourselves "Why aren't others taking this as seriously?" Regardless of which is correct, we are called to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31).
That might mean keeping appropriate social distance for now, but still checking on our loved ones and the elderly, perhaps seeing if we can pick up groceries for them. In Romans 13 we are also called to "submit to governing authority"— adhering to the procedures set in place by the CDC and our state governments. God also calls us to "trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).
We are living in unprecedented times. If you are feeling hurt, afraid, overwhelmed, confused, or discouraged, I see and hear you. So does God— you are not alone. Amidst the uncertainty that we're facing here on Earth, one thing remains true: God's sovereignty. Our gracious and loving God is the Author of Peace despite the chaos we're witnessing.
What we are experiencing is not new or shocking to our Heavenly Father.
It is important to do everything we can to adjust to our new "norm" in a healthy way. It is important to remain flexible, to give grace, and to move forward with patience and kindness to ourselves and others. It is important for us to be the Light to others during these trials.
Here are a few tips for maintaining mental health through trials: