Taking care of our mental well-being
In the current Covid-19 situation, being isolated from loved ones or cooped up at home has led to all kinds of strains. Physically, we are moving less. That means we may be exercising less. Some of us have even put on weight during this time! For others, sleeping hours have gone haywire, diets affected and travel plans put on hold as we await announcements from authorities. There is a lot to get used to in this new normal.
Matters of the mind
But besides physical changes, there is the less-talked about aspect of our mental state. Are we becoming more irritable and moody? Are we feeling “down” on a daily basis or experiencing outbursts of anger? Stress, anxiety and worries are part and parcel of life, but in such uncertain and trying times, their effects can be heightened and multiplied. It is like being in a pressure cooker – the lid has finally exploded and the kitchen is a mess.
The dictionary defines mental health as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” The Bible talks about how important the mind is when it says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7). The Apostle Paul also said to focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy – and to “think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).
Taking one day at a time
But all that is easier said than done, especially when the issue at hand presses upon us in a real way. It may be job loss, broken relationships or business failures. I personally know of a man who changed from his normal jovial self to a quiet, sullen and seemingly depressed person. To the best of my knowledge, he has never recovered. I was told by his pastor that he lost heavily in the share market and could not accept the losses.
Mental health has got to do with the ability to live one day at a time, trusting God that He knows the future and that He holds us in the palm of hands. Our greatest challenge, however, is that we cannot see God, cannot touch Him, and often cannot feel His presence. But if we are not careful, weariness will lead to cynicism, and thereafter bitterness, despair, depression, and finally burnout.
To prevent this, we may have to consider some of the following:
- Live one day at a time. Each day has its fair share of worries, and knowing this will help us to take one step at a time. Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself (Matthew 6:34).
- Know that we cannot control the future. We can do certain things to prepare ourselves for tomorrow, but if troubles come, our future is still in the Lord’s hand. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow and what a day may bring forth (Proverbs 27:1).
- Know that we are never called to walk this journey alone. Our spouse, family members and Church community are the support network we must cling onto in hard times. We need fellowship with God’s people the most when we’re down. Liverpool FC’s theme song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” says it all.
- Cling on to God’s promises from Scripture. Memorise and meditate key Bible passages to help you through the “dark night of the soul”, a kind of spiritual depression as experienced by King David and the prophet Jeremiah. As the Psalmist sang, “Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord” (Psalm 130:1). There is power in God’s Word to change our physical and mental atmosphere. – W.P. Lim
Lord, help us know that whatever happens tomorrow, you will be there to hold our hands.
In times of uncertainty, Your love and mercy surpasses all hardship because You have overcome the world.
About the Author
Wan Phing Lim is a contributor to Our Daily Bread Ministries Malaysia. Born and raised in Penang, she studied Politics and International Relations at The University of Manchester before turning to a career in writing. Now based in Kuala Lumpur, she writes across a wide variety of genres in print and digital – including lifestyle, travel, education and technology. In her free time, she loves a good cup of coffee, books, films and writing fiction.
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