The World Health Organization has defined good mental health as “a state of well being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
So, let me ask you, how are you doing? Nothing has been normal for ten months! As we live through this global pandemic we have experienced lockdowns, holiday restrictions, fuel shortages, depleted food and grocery supplies, travel restrictions, grocery store line ups, working remotely and identified the essential workers. We wear masks, hand sanitize, answer standard questions while maintaining a safe distance of six feet, and attempt to follow directional signs in a grocery store when all we need is something on the far side of the store! Is this the new normal?
We have watched and applauded, and yes, questioned, as we anxiously await the daily reports from levels of government and health authorities. We understand what it means to be in a ‘bubble’, to live in ‘unprecedented’ times, to ‘navigate’ these difficult days, and to ‘social distance’. We know what it is to be ‘in this together’! The burden has been great, and the impact of the pandemic is taking its toll in many ways. We live in hope for better days and a vaccine that will breathe new hope into a critical moment in our history.
Information released by the Canadian Mental Health Association on December 3, 2020 indicates that with the second wave of the pandemic Canadians are experiencing “intensified feelings of stress and anxiety, causing alarming levels of despair, suicidal thoughts, financial worry, increased substance abuse, and hopelessness in the Canadian population”. Statistics also suggest that there is an increase in domestic violence. (https://cmha.ca/news)
Statistics reflect that 71% of Canadians are worried about the second wave, 58% are worried about a loved one or family member dying and only 21% are feeling hopeful. (Canadian Mental Health Association survey – results released on Dec. 3, 2020; https://www.med.ubc.ca/news/new-national-survey-finds-canadians-mental-health-eroding-as-pandemic-continues/)
As we consider the impact of our present situation be encouraged as we care for our own mental health for this fresh new year of hope and healing in our land.
READ: Zephaniah 3: 16-17 Don’t be afraid…don’t despair. Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you…He will calm you with his love and delight you with his songs.
LISTEN: As God speaks to you
PRAYER: LORD of heaven and earth, in these days of constant change and chaos, help me to remember You are the author of peace. Help me to be still. When I am afraid, calm me. When I am feeling alone, comfort me. When I am perplexed and feelings of hopelessness crowd me, speak your perfect peace into my soul. Help me to find your peace in the changing dynamics of my world. AMEN
DO: For your peace of mind today, choose one of these suggestions and follow-through:
Talk about your feelings.
Take a break.
Do something you are good at.
Go off the grid. Leave your phone at home!
By Major Shirley King, WICC Secretary and Appointee from The Salvation Army