Like so many other people around the globe, my world was turned upside down when Covid-19 hit our shores. There was grief for the things that were cancelled and the opportunities that wouldn’t eventuate.
There was confusion about what was going on, with the situation changing so rapidly and new restrictions added every day. There was heartbreak for our communities and our world as we watched what was happening on the news in horror.
While I am immensely grateful that here in New Zealand we have contained Covid-19 and have been able to basically return to “normal” life, it is still true that some people are continuing to be affected and their lives are still heading on a downwards spiral.
More long-term cancellations, unemployment, and broken relationships. More bad news, anxiety, and loneliness. More grief, pain and being overwhelmed.
Some people are still suffering for a range of reasons, and the post-lockdown reality isn’t quite as celebratory as we might expect it to be.
So what do you do when your world crashes around you?
It’s ok to be sad and it’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to cry and it’s ok to sometimes not be able to articulate why you’re crying.
If you’re not usually an emotional person but you’ve suddenly found yourself quite emotional, that’s ok. It’s completely understandable that your personal resilience levels may be a little lower than usual in the midst of a global pandemic and after months of lockdown restrictions.
So accept the emotions that are welling up inside you and let them out – it’s ok.
2. Open up
Be vulnerable and tell someone about what you’re feeling. We’re designed to be in community and a relationship with mutual vulnerability is one of the most beautiful things in the world!
If you’re lamenting, then let a friend know what’s going on so that they can lament with you. You’re only human, and they certainly won’t judge you for that.
3. Sleep on it
When things start to fall apart, it’s so easy to want to give a knee-jerk reaction and make a quick decision like quitting your job, starting or ending a relationship, or maybe spending a lot of money on an impulse purchase.
Rash decisions should never be made when you’re in the throes of extreme emotions or pressure. So think about it, pray about it and sleep on it before making any life-altering changes.
At the end of the day, what is really important to you? What are the things that you want to really prioritise and invest in?
As life gets more overwhelming and confusing, it becomes easier to get sucked into the problems in front of you instead of the things that really matter.
Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at all the different pieces of our lives before putting them back in a different order of priority and focussing on the things that are good for our souls. That might look like making time to visit family, call a friend or go to the gym.
It can take a lot of self-discipline to do this, but your to do list will thank you for it when you’ve got a clear head and have done the things that matter.
5. Take a breath and be thankful
It’s so easy to become cynical and resentful about the things that have caused us stress and disappointment, but the Bible tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances”, even when life doesn’t look so rosy (1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 18).
So take some time out, take a deep breath, and consciously work to shift your mindset to one of gratitude. There are always things to be thankful for and it’s amazing how the world crashing around you doesn’t seem quite so bad when you get a bit of balance and perspective back.
Just one step at a time is all it takes.
Rebecca Howan is from Wellington, New Zealand, where she works as an Executive Assistant in the humanitarian sector. She worships and serves at The Salvation Army, and is passionate about music, travelling the world and building community.
You can read Rebecca’s previous columns at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-howan.html