LIFESTYLE

Overcoming Stress and Anxiety in This Pandemic

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These are very unprecedented times. Most people alive now have never experienced a global pandemic of this magnitude before. Hence, there is so much uncertainty, stress and anxiety, as this has led to many problems. Minus the apparent economic decline, there are so many psychological effects that people are going through in these times- such as stress and anxiety .

As believers, we experience stress and anxiety simply because we live in a fallen world. This, I think is the starting point – understanding that even though you are a child of God, you are human. This means that you ought to pay attention to your body. Admitting you are stressed, anxious, or depressed is the first step to overcoming it. Do not ignore the signs that your body gives you. These signs are there for a reason. God set up these ‘alarms’ and ‘warning signals’ in our bodies for a purpose. For instance, some persons experience severe headaches when they are stressed. Such persons shouldn’t go on and act like these headaches mean nothing, just because they are ‘children of God’.

Our bodies being the temple of God bestows on us several responsibilities. One of which is the responsibility to be good stewards of our bodies AKA take good care of your body Click To Tweet

In these strange times, pay extra attention to your body and when something is off, admit that something is off and take the necessary steps. This brings me to my next point:

1. Seek Help

Doctors are not anti-bible. God created medicine and gave people wisdom and knowledge concerning how to bring relief to an ailing body. Medicine and Spirituality are not mutually exclusive. Resist the urge to self-medicate or check Google. I think that it takes both humility and responsibility to admit that you do not know all and to seek help from someone else. When you are stressed or experiencing any form of mental breakdown- be it anxiety or depression, please seek help from appropriate person(s).

When you are stressed or experiencing any form of mental breakdown be it anxiety or depression, please seek help from appropriate person(s). Click To Tweet

2. What eat ye?

Whether physically or mentally, you need to be mindful of what you consume. Remember, we ought to be responsible stewards of our bodies- which is the temple of God. Garbage in, Garbage out is pretty much how the body works. If you consistently eat junks, refuse to exercise and engage in harmful behaviour, your body will definitely reflect this. And I know, oh the temptation to eat unhealthy food in this pandemic is so much. However, I realize that it is about having the right motivation. I pay attention to what I eat and try to work out; not necessarily because I want to lose some weight, but because I strive daily to be a good steward of this body God has entrusted to me.

Our bodies are an important resource that God has trusted us with so we cannot afford to not take care of it. Having God as a motivation helps to keep on going even after you have lost a few pounds and built up the muscles you desired.

Our bodies are an important resource that God has trusted us with so we cannot afford to not take care of it. Click To Tweet

3. Guard your hearts

Watching what you consume also applies to your mind. You cannot sleep on CNN and WHO news pages and expect to not be anxious because truly, stats can be scary. Why not focus your mind instead on God – on His promises and His Words? Choose to meditate on the Word of God and how He is our refuge and fortress in these times, to keep yourself encouraged. Peter walked on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. The minute he took his eyes off and focused on the raging waves around him, he began to sink. There is a lesson here – you reflect what you focus on. In this pandemic, what is your focus? Are you focusing on God and His promises or the news and the forecasts? In this season, guard your heart, diligently.

There is a lesson here - you reflect what you focus on. In this pandemic, what is your focus? Click To Tweet

4. Take time to actually rest

This period, I have noticed how tiring it is to work or study online. This is weird because you are not exerting as much physical energy. This is why it is even more important at this time to actually rest. Because of the lock-down and quarantine in most cities, people are looking for how to keep themselves busy and/or entertained; so many are binge-watching series or burying themselves in books. While these are good ways of relaxing, they shouldn’t be a substitute for sleep and actual rest.

Jesus sleeping even in a storm is a sign that Jesus took His sleep seriously. You too should. Click To Tweet

5. Stay prayed up!

Even though this is the final point, it is the most important. The bible says God is our refuge and our fortress. If there is any time you need to pray, it is now because even though most cities are on lock-down, the devil isn’t. We pray to strengthen ourselves against temptations and the fiery darts of the devil. We pray also to remind ourselves of God’s promises and be encouraged. Prayers also help us receive instructions from God. One time, I was so stressed and as I cried to God in prayers, I was instructed to put my devices off and sleep. That was the ‘miracle’ that I need to get myself back. Again, if there was any time, prayers were very needed – it is now. Stay prayed up!

We pray to remind ourselves of God's promises and be encouraged. Prayers also help us receive instructions from God. Click To Tweet

In conclusion, we are in strange times and it is taking a toll on people’s mental health – a lot of people are experiencing stress and anxiety. Be reminded that even though you are a Christian, you are human so there is still the need to pay attention to this earthly vessel – our bodies. If you are battling stress and anxiety at this time, please hang in there, be strong and courageous. Seek help from the appropriate person(s), take care of your body and keep praying.

Remember that with each passing second, we are closer to the end of this pandemic. Please feel free to reach out to me or @OludapoTolulope or a trusted friend if you need someone to pray for/with you.

This too shall pass. We are ALL in this together and by God’s grace we would come out victorious.

Read Faint Hearts Made Strong: Dealing with COVID-19

Ozioma Paul

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