By Kae Tritle, RN Wellness Coordinator
The page on the calendar may have flipped to a different year, but much of what we are coping with hasn’t changed. Covid-19 is still here with all of the social, economic, health, and psychological impacts. We are still social distancing, working, schooling, and worshipping from home. We are still taking health precautions and waiting our turn for the vaccine. Many persons are still waiting for the economy to recover and to have consistent income. Life is still hard and difficult. I am feeling that we still need to hang onto:
HOPE—the confident expectation that life will get better
PATIENCE—the ability for active waiting; of preparing for what is coming
PERSEVERANCE—the determination to do what is necessary to get through this
ENDURANCE—the ability to stay the course through the difficulties
RESILIENCE—strength in the midst of change and the ability to recover.
As we continue coping with the present circumstances, I would like to lift up the qualities of patience and perseverance, particularly about self-care. Most things worth doing require planning, effort, and perseverance. Self-care isn’t any different. As we move into this year with continued adaptations, I have the following suggestions.
Patience—preparing for what is coming.
- Make an appointment with your doctor for a wellness check-up. You only have one body. See your doctor to take care of any developing issues and/or for preventative maintenance. Do this during your birthday month as a present to yourself. As preventative care, this is covered by your insurance. If you already have a medical condition, see your doctor regularly to keep your condition manageable. This is crucial for long-term health and well-being.
- Reserve time for relaxation and unwinding. You need down-time to process, de-stress, relax, and calm yourself. This allows your body, mind, and soul to re-group and to prepare for what is next. Give yourself permission to do leisure reading, watch positive movies, play with your kids, laugh, listen to upbeat and/or relaxing music, or journal about what happened during the day. You need to let your unconscious mind work through and process your current experiences so you can keep coping.
- Stay connected with caring persons. We all need a network of persons who listen, encourage, and care for us. These persons provide support and a place for us to reflect and evaluate our thoughts, feelings, and perspectives. This is vital for our emotional and relational health as we cope with changing circumstances.
Perseverance—determination to do what is necessary to get through.
- Do regular body movement. Your muscles are made to move. Look at your schedule, make a regular appointment with a buddy or yourself. Dress for the weather and take your body for a walk. Put on some music and dance (nobody is watching!!) There are a variety of online videos, fitness channels, or DVD’s available for body movement. Host a zoom dance-party or group exercise session. Intentional physical activity is essential to keep muscles and joints healthy, to manage stress, and for emotional well-being.
- Practice healthy eating. Adapt your comfort foods to be healthier; use whole grains, lean meats, plant proteins, and salt-free broths. Try out different vegetables and seasonings. Experiment! Set-up a weekly chat with one to three friends to share new recipes, meal short-cuts, and cooking ideas. Cook larger batches of food when you have more time. You will then have ready-to-eat meals for later. Avoid processed, high-sugar, and high-calorie foods. Your body and brain function better with clean eating, helping you to deal more effectively with life.
- Maintain meaningful spiritual practices. Journaling, intentional prayer and scripture reading, regular covenant groups, inspirational music, and worship are all forms of spiritually healing practices. Find meaningful ways to stay connected to God, the source of our being. Be intentional about placing yourself before God so that God can work with and through you. This is vital to help our soul stay grounded and for us to cope with circumstances and events that cause angst.
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you.”
(Joshua 1:9 NRSV)
I invite you to practice patience by actively preparing for what is next and practice perseverance by doing what is necessary as you cope and adapt to changing circumstances.