"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord..."
In this time of increased anxiety, there is comfort in the words of the prophet Jeremiah:
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,” …Jeremiah 29:11-13
What can one do? First, remember that you are not alone…the Pastoral Care Team is available by phone, email and the web. A listening ear can be a great comfort. Yes, we miss each other! St. Luke’s is such a warm parish, and the genuine care that is shown for each other is indeed a gift.
Also, there is much is on the internet about coping through this time, and a particularly well-written article is from Harvard Health Blog by Dr. John Sharp. I hope you will read the entire article..the link is at the end of this. Here are some excerpts:
“Steady yourself around worries about the new coronavirus
Knowing how to manage your own anxiety always takes a little thought. Ask and answer these questions:
What typically happens to your body when worries mount?
How worried are you?
What do you fear the most?
What usually helps you handle worries?
When anxiety rises because we’re facing a distressing threat like the new coronavirus, we need to focus on what tends to work for us to ease anxiety — that, plus doing a little bit more of some actions and a little bit less of others. Keep these thoughts in mind. You’re fully prepared to help yourself. You can take steps to calm and steady yourself. Remember what works for you — because as fellow humans we’re not so dissimilar, but we do tend to have our own preferences and best practices.
Try doing these things more
Connect with friends and loved ones through video chats, phone calls, texting, and email. It really helps to feel the strength of your connections to your friends and loved ones, even though you may not be with them in person. Stick with sources of credible medical information, so you can avoid misinformation about the virus and the illness it causes.
How can you relax despite coronavirus worries?
Here are some tried and true ways to relax:
· Yoga. Not a yoga person? No need to start now unless you’d like to try it. Sometimes trying new things and discovering new activities you can benefit from and enjoy can be a welcome, healthy distraction. Yoga Studio and Pocket Yoga are good apps to consider.
· Meditation. Regular meditation is very calming. Many apps teach simple forms of meditation, such as Headspace or Calm.
· Controlled breathing. One simple technique is called square breathing. Visualize your breath traveling along a square. As you follow the instructions to inhale, hold your breath, or exhale, count slowly to three on each side. Try it now. Inhale up the first side of the square. Slowly count one, two, three. Hold your breath across the top. One, two, three. Exhale down the other side of the square. One, two, three. Then hold your breath across the bottom. One, two, three. After a few minutes of this you should be feeling calmer and more centered.
Tap into other ways you like to relax, too. Maybe you like reading a good book or watching a good comedy. Eat the familiar foods that you always enjoy. Stay in contact with your friends and loved ones. Reaching out can help you and help them.”
Another resource that has been used by many is called Guided Imagery. Diane Tusek is an RN who has created a collection of guided imagery tools. Her works have been used by some parishioners who were undergoing treatment for cancer, some who have had trouble sleeping, those who are preparing for surgery. Her website is: http://www.guidedimageryinc.com. She has these tools in a variety of forms. One thing she cautions against is listening to her guided imagery while driving!
Finally, remember to pray, and join the Services offered via Zoom from St. Luke’s. It is comforting to see the altar, the tabernacle, to hear the familiar hymns and prayers…and to be together in worship.