COVID RESPONSE
Southeastern Synod ELCA

Our Mental Health

Cornelia Pearson - May 04, 2020
At this moment I find it more difficult than ever to sit down and find a health topic other than Covid-19 to talk about. Yes, how to protect ourselves from this dreaded disease is ever present on our minds. As I peruse through St Andrew’s last month’s newsletter I am keenly aware of how much I miss being in the church building and participating in church activities on site. I have especially missed singing with the choir and participating in Easter Sunday services on April 12. Recently, on a news broadcast, I heard Madeleine Albright say, “The only thing that we have control over is our mind!” Our minds can help us understand and accept our part in why we cannot gather together and how we can work to keep ourselves, our families and others well during these difficult days. Yes, these days are stressful for everyone especially for a large variety of service individuals. At the top of this list are the medical professionals caring for the sick and dying while also trying to home school their children, care for their families and keep themselves safe. Of course, dealing with this dreadful disease if far too much to ask of anyone but we will all do what we have to do to get back to pre-Covid-19 life. 
 
So, what do we do other than to sit around and wring our hands over the fact that we may be destined to be in self-isolation for several more weeks, maybe even months? We must be committed to waiting for enough tests, a better treatment and perhaps even for a vaccine before we can return to “normal life.” One friend wrote to me that she is bored. Really? I have too much to do at home to be bored.   
 
We do have the power to take control of our minds and to make our own mental health a part of our overall health plan during this stressful time. What are your strategies for supporting your mental health while waiting? I might suggest that most of the tips that I listed in my April SES E-News article are positive ways to impact not just our physical health but also our mental health. 
 
Boredom is one issue which if we put our minds to it is easy to alleviate. Anxiety, which affects our overall health, is a more difficult issue to deal with. If your mind is stressed and the stress is stressing your body, your pastors and your medical providers can provide assistance and referrals. As we wait this out together, in the spirit of Martin Luther: Pray, seek help if you need it, explore, walk, run, think, listen, play music, Pray, share, sew, knit, cook, teach, sleep, Pray, love, write, garden, wash, read, reach out, exercise, Pray, stretch, be creative, learn, sing, dance, smile, laugh, sleep, participate in your church’s web activities, focus on being well, be hopeful and thank God!
 
Cornelia Pearson, RN, MN
Member St. Andrew Lutheran Church
Franklin, TN