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How To Stay Emotionally Healthy Through the COVID 19 Pandemic

The Coronavirus strain COVID 19 is a world wide pandemic and has forced many countries to quarantine, individuals to self-quarantine, and businesses to shut down. As we wonder about our financial future, and our health, we shouldn't ignore our emotional health especially those of us who live in places with mandatory lock downs. 


Don't forget Jeremiah's message to the exiles, however, who faced an uncertain future as well, or perhaps felt they had no future at all. It looked pretty bleak till Yahweh gave Jeremiah that message saying, "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (NLT)." Reading the whole chapter would be beneficial. 



So shall we try to avoid cabin fever. Just think, this too shall probably pass. The following was written for the caregiver, a little updated here and there, who was essentially cooped up at home, like myself, because our loved ones needed 24/7 care. It now seems appropriate for most of us, if not all of us.







Oh, how important it is for caregivers (and now to everyone quarantined to our homes) to stay emotionally healthy. The everyday duties can wear you out physically, drain your emotionally, but there are ways ... simple ways sometimes, to keep up that strength, and keep you emotionally healthy. 


"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." ~James 3:17 (NIV) 






Poems for the Caregiver

The following list is a work in progress.

1. Pray (no technology needed)
Pray often. Pray when you feel anger building, frustration emerging, or ropes fraying. Pray through panic, fear, anxiety, and cabin fever. Pray till you can sense that the Great I Am really is with you.

This is a wonderful article on prayer by author Chip Mattis. He calls it PACT: Praise, Ask, Confess, and Thank. You can find the full article here. I highly recommend it.


2. Find a quiet place (even if it’s in the bathroom) to read God’s Word, one chapter a day is fine. I like short devotionals, like Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, to accompany my Bible reading. (Jesus Calling for Easter is now available, too.)


Other Devotionals I recommend
  • Long Live the Child by Christine Wyrtzen  (This book helped me through my first year of caregiving.)
  • More Precious than Silver by Joni Eareckson Tada (This one has been a guide to me in my second year of caregiving.)

3.  Read some good fictional books like my book The Watcher King.  I know, shameless advertising. Read anything uplifting though, something with substance I always say. Personally, I need a happy ending, albeit an honest one.


4. Keep a journal. Considering that we are now living through a pandemic everyone should try to keep a journal. These are historical times. We all have a story to tell.

I keep a prayer journal. Each entry starts with "Dear God." Write truthfully, put all those feelings down on paper, be authentic with the Lord. He's not surprised by anything you have to say. You'll be amazed at how many prayers he will answer and how far he will bring you on this journey. (Browse through my collection of joyful journals on Pinterest) or check these beauties out from Erin Condren.




5. Find one good friend who lets you vent, and be a friend to her. All venting is now done via social sites and cell phones. We appreciate technology. 



6. Keep the radio on a Christian station, one that plays the music you like (in the background is good). My little portable radio is on 24/7 in my bathroom. It’s old, nothing digital about it, but it works. UPDATE: Alexa plays KLOVE radio 24/7. We love technology.



7. Don't watch the news ... too much. Worship God: Sing out loud (it’s okay to let everyone in the home hear you sing). Spread the Good News. Be true to Him and yourself. Check out this video called "Happy Song," sung by my friend Crystal Purvis, and written by the wonderful late Irene--everyone's favorite Grandma. What's your favorite worship song?





8. Take care of yourself, because the care you receive will equal the care you give. Love yourself; you're important; you're unique; you're strong. God knows you're awesome. I do too, btw. 


9. Remember, you are not alone. Above all, God is with you. And there are over 43.5 million (this number keeps rising) caregivers in the USA alone (https://www.caregiver.org/caregiver-statistics-demographics). A lot of caregiver groups are on social networks and members have great advice, not to mention the encouragement you need. 




10. Have a cup of coffee and a doughnut!
11. Start a blog. It's easier than you think. Blog once a week on anything that interests you. Use Pixabay for free images, illustrations, and even video clips. All free.

12. Get out of your pajamas, it will make you feel good.

13. If you can't make it to church, keep up with your pastor online. If your church does not have the podcast or video of their sermons find a pastor you might enjoy and listen to that. I love hearing from Priscilla Shirer or Beth Moore. YouTube is packed with great sermons. 

UPDATE: Looks like we're all doing church online. It's strange, huh? You'll get used to it. God will use technology.

14. Use the internet to go shopping. (Stop hoarding, don't panic!)
Many stores offer free shipping. InstaCart will even do your grocery shopping. Walmart has free grocery service. You order online, they shop, bag it, send you a message when it's ready, you pick up. No need to get out of your car. They deliver too. Those ads are for real.

15. Color
Coloring is great therapy. My mom (who has had 2 strokes) enjoys this so much. She's on her third coloring book. I'm proud to say she's loving the one I created with my friend Ginger Galloway. It's called Color! and it's based on the Proverbs 31 woman. That would be you, yes you. 

Here's a free coloring page I made. This is a wonderful ongoing project for me. Don't forget to celebrate Easter.








16. Use meal delivery services like HelloFresh
You won't have to think about what to have for dinner. And the meals are delicious and super easy to fix. Half an hour tops to prepare. Seriously, Mom and Dad think I'm this amazing gourmet chef. I'm starting to believe it myself.

I can also vouch for Sun Basket. Recipes include vegan, vegetarian, and Keto friendly.  The food took me by surprise. It's healthy and very tasty.




I'm also thinking about Nueske's and their wonderful meat selection; and, we've always done Omaha Steaks at least twice a year and gifted it, too. I'm sure you can think of others that deliver. Would love to try Daily Harvest. It looks healthy and yummy.

17. Doodle. Stick people rule ... and you'll master it, I'm sure of it. 

18. Get you hair done. A new "do" or a trim? Watch for those coupons in the mail. We'll put this back on the list when we finally conquer this virus.

19. Better yet, treat yourself to a professional massage. It hurts only for a while. I did this once, and will definitely do it again.  Same! Wait till after this world crises is over.

20. Treat your mind and body with essential oils. They can get expensive. However, after a little bit of research I've found Eden's Garden has the best prices for the pure stuff. 


My favorite oils
Lavender (Very calming, and gets my, and Dad's, BP down)
Frankincense
Eucalyptus (does wonders for my arthritic hand)
Tea Trea (we use it to battle infections especially in the mouth)
Lemon (worked great on Dad's fever, and tasty in water)

21. Write a poem. This has helped me so much. Don't hold back and be free with it. 


Beloved Caregiver

I watched you sit among the weeds
Of anger, doubt, and fear
You have the tools to vanquish them
If but your heart would hear

I chose you to take care of them
I say you’re doing great
Just close your eyes and think of Me
Let anger dissipate

Come sit among the daffodils
On grassy knolls of grace
Let mercy grow your flower beds
With blooms of fragrant praise



22. Read a book of poetry like Forevermore, Poetry, Prayers, and Scriptures for the Caregiver. The poem above is an excerpt from this book.

23. Light a scented candle


My Favorite Candle Scents
Pumpkin Spice
Cheesecake
Skittles (They do exist!)
Green Apple

24. Eat Chocolate, unless you don't like chocolate. Wait, you don't like chocolate? Eat chocolate covered strawberries then.


25. Sit in your garden, or come sit in mine. Or start planting indoors. I take cuttings from our garden and plant them in up-cycled tin cans. 









26Find a simple and relaxing/fun hobby; Crochet, knit, paint, make bookmarks. Check out our Pinterest board for more info on this. Make encouraging Youtube videos for such a time as this. Don't you love technology?

27. Read encouraging Scriptures/Beautiful Memes

28. Learn the art of Bible Journaling. Oh, I want to master this so bad, but stick people probably doesn't qualify for this. But I'm learning. 

29. Do a PUZZLE
There is an amazing collection of puzzles for dementia patients. Happy patient, happy caregiver.

30. Do something sweet for someone. What else can you do with all those scarves you're crocheting, right? Present for someone? Crochet socks and beanies for the homeless? 

31. Play card games. Offline and online ... be careful though, online card games can get addictive. 

32. Don't forget to exercise. If you can't find time to go to the gym, try a stationary bike or those colored rubber bands. Ten to twenty minutes each day will do you good. Have a friend with a pool? Do a few laps. 

33. 7 Godly Life Hacks by fellow blogger "Inspired by His Words" with Ava James.







Let us know what works for you and leave it in the comments section below.


46 comments:

  1. Here's the link Carrie: https://www.amazon.com/Color-Coloring-Affirmations-Womans-Heart/dp/1530440203?keywords=deborah+L.+alten&qid=1537987133&sr=8-1&ref=sr_1_1

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  2. Thanks Deborah, really great advice. Care givers need lots of help and prayers.

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    1. You are so right, Yvonne. And prayer is pretty powerful. It's been a great journey, and I'm still learning. Thanks so much for dropping by.

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  3. Hi Deborah. This is a helpful list, and not just for caregivers. I think one that I use quite often is #1 about prayer. I don't consider myself at all to be a prayer warrior, but I do find myself talking to God throughout the day. So whether I'm stepping in to a meeting that will be difficult or just got cut off by a crazy on the road, I talk to God and ask Him for his help - to help me follow the Spirit's lead, etc. Thanks for these suggestions.

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    1. I know what you mean, Stephen. The most awesome thing about prayer is we have access to God anytime, anywhere.

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  4. What an important post! Thank you for this. I have a close friend who is a caregiver for his wife...I'm going to share this with him.

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  5. This is so helpful. I'm a caregiver for my mom and finally started utilizing buying online. It is a sanity saver. Now when I get respite from a nurse I can do something relaxing, like walk in the woods, instead of doing errands.

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    1. Isn't that awesome? I love shopping online. You've got to take advantages of those moments when you get time for yourself. I would love to take a walk in the woods. We live in the desert so no long walks. LOL. Thanks Kris. You're welcome to add your ideas to this list.

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  6. Thanks Joey. My reason for writing this blog was always to see if I could help other caregivers, so thank you so much for sharing this with your friend. Hope it helps.

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  7. Deborah, There are so many wonderful suggestions in this post to help ensure the caregiver remains strong and resiliant. After taking care of my Mother, prior to her death, I grew to appreciate the need to have moments of silence and prayer and Scripture. I also really appreciated your suggestions to have Christian music playing, to journal and draw, to seek companionship and attend church, and to practice self-care. Thanks for the insightful post. I am sure it will help many who are currently caregiving.

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    1. Thanks Anne. I don't think we can take this journey without the Lord. Prayer is a mighty weapon. Please feel free to add to this list. Would love to hear some of your stories.

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  8. Such great tips. Especially when you feel beaten as a caregiver. I will share with my mum. Thanks Deborah.

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  9. All good words here. We do need to take care of ourselves to better care for others.

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  10. Over 43 million caregivers? Is that just in the United States, or is that globally? Nonetheless, it’s a huge number. I had no idea! God bless you for reaching out and providing tips to help.

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  11. Great tips. I agree with all of them, and especially the one about keeping the Christian radio station on. Even when I don't feel like I'm in the "mood" for music, the lyrics and the message still sink in and influence me even when I don't realize it.

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  12. This is great stuff, Deb. And thanks for the shout out.
    I think I would add, seek support. When I cared for my dad, I needed friends to pray with me and encourage me. I needed the sanity check. Community is so valuable.
    Excellent post!

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  13. This is great! As a mom of 3, including a 3 month old I'm almost always feeling exhausted. One thing that has really made a difference in my life when I've made the time for it is self-care (#7). It seems indulgent, even selfish to me; but the reality is that when I do pratice regular self-care I do a better job of caring for others.

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  15. Great tips! Funny thing about coloring - it seems so kid-like, but it really boosts my mood for some reason!

    Thanks Deborah :)

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    1. I watch my mom color and it's like she's creating a masterpiece. I'm going to have to frame one for her. You're right, it really does boost your mood.

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  16. These are very creative suggestions. I'm going to try the puzzle one...we had puzzles ar my last job. They were great in helping us take a break from the stress and staring at our screen

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    1. It's an awesome relief from stress. I think staring at my laptop for too long makes me dizzy. Gotta step away once in a while.

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  17. Such great ideas to make a very difficult job manageable. Treating ourselves is very important. Thanks and God bless!

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    1. Thanks Nancy. Yep, I found out early on in this journey that I had to stay healthy both physically and mentally in order to do this lovingly.

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  18. Great suggestions for us Men as well in your list. Thank you also for the helpful links like Pixabay!! God Bless!!

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    1. You're welcome Stephen. I should ask my Christian brothers for more suggestions. Thanks for that little insight.

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  19. Great list! I think the one that keeps me most focused on the Lord through the WHOLE day is to keep listening to Christian music. My home is peaceful, my spirit is peaceful, and I dance through my day in praise and prayer!

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    1. Ooh, I know, I love that, too. Dancing and praising and prayer. It's enough to get us through our days. Pure joy and real peace.

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  20. Great list! I go to the gym. I exercise while I listen to worship music and podcasts. It's a time just for me and a great way for me to escape my 'to do' list.

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    1. Oh yes, will have to add exercise/going to gym. I actually have a stationary bike. Helps me to stay on course. Thanks Marcie.

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  21. What a wonderful list! Going to try and share with a dear friend who is a caregiver.

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    1. Oh, I always love it when readers share this with their caregiver friends. Thanks so much Joey. Hope it will help your friend.

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  22. Praying this finds those in the most need. One you might add just happened for a friend of mine whose husband has early onset of Alzheimer's Disease. She spoke to someone at her church and they have 2 retired men who are taking turns coming to visit her husband once a week so she can get out for a couple of hours. I call that "bearing one another's burdens." It is a gift to her.

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  23. These are excellent tips! Eating well and getting enough sleep are critical for me in caring for my body, which helps my emotional health, and spending time every day in God's Word (ESPECIALLY when I think I don't have time) is critical.

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  24. Very helpful and encouraging tips for the care givers.

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  25. Being intentional in caring for ourselves is so important!

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  26. Great ideaas! I like "Get out of your pajamas!". As somene who works from home, I have to be intentional about wearing something besides jeans and sweatshirt. Wonderful suggestions. :)

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  27. It is so critical to stay emotionally healthy!

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  28. Great tips, Deborah! And I've had Chip guest post on my blog before, and familiar with ACTS for a prayer guide, but not "PACT." I particularly like how you suggest seeking a friend to vent to and journaling.

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