We’re all coping with the significant challenges in our lives and we’re doing the best we can to help meet the needs of those around us. Here’s a friendly reminder: while you’re trying to do all that, remember to take time to care for your own needs, too. Here are a few tips to help.

1. Recognize and name your feelings.
Maybe you’re nervous. Maybe you’re anxious, and maybe you’re flat-out terrified. Whether or not we’re willing to admit it, most of us are, at the very least, a little unsettled. Please know there’s nothing wrong with that. Feelings aren’t wrong. They are just indicators for us. In fact, if we deny our emotions, they begin to own or even overtake us. Acknowledge how you feel.

2. Focus on what you can control.
When we look only at what we can’t control, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Pause to consider what you can control. Your attitude. Your response to others. Your self-care. What you allow to influence you. How you cope with the stress. The grace you give to yourself and others as we all navigate the uncertainty. Seeing the beauty of springtime unfolding. These are just a few examples.

3. Eliminate toxic influences.
Social media and the news are full of hype and speculation. “Experts” are appearing from everywhere providing their evaluation and eyewitness accounts. Follow only reputable links. Limit the amount of time spent listening to the news and reviewing the stats. Read it to prepare and make change, not to predict or judge.

4. Create healthy routines.
Make sleep a priority because it is the bedrock of emotional stability. Make hydration and healthy eating a priority because they provide the nourishment needed to make rational decisions. Move your body by walking or doing your favorite exercise, to reduce cortisol levels and promote endorphins in your body. Supporting your body is key to combating stress.

5. Support and connect with others.
Humans were made for connection, so join a zoom group that is focused on finding peace, or a Bible study that reminds you of hope. Reconnect with loved ones, and support those in need. Connecting with others and supporting those in need keep your mind off turning inward and more important, prevents your thoughts from running wild.

6. Reach out for help.
If anxiety seems to be overtaking you, or your feelings suddenly overwhelm you, reach out. If you find yourself having strong reactions to usual topics or situations, it’s a signal that stress may be boiling inside. Make use of the services available at Care to Change.

7. Remember where to find true peace: Faith in God.
Scripture reminds us, “You are my Rock. My Redeemer. My ever-present help in times of trouble.” … “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock my fortress. I will not be shaken… He is my refuge.”

Michael Spencer is one of Care to Change’s professional counselors. He has combined ministry with counseling for families, couples, and individuals of all ages for over 15 years.

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