As I began to pray about and to write this Parish Nurse blog, I started by looking back through my journaling during the last 8 weeks working as an RN, caring for my patients as they one by one developed COVID-19. So many gifts from God have given me the strength to go through these challenging weeks. The gift of prayer from my brothers and sisters in Christ, my family's support and prayer, God's Word, the many virtual worship services, Bible Studies and Zoom meetings that lifted my heart and spirits.
So many aspects of our lives were instantly stripped away from us when this pandemic occurred. Some of us have lost dear friends, co-workers, or family members who have been called home to our Lord. Many of us lost jobs, income, investments, freedoms that we have always assumed would be available to us, and much more. Our physical, mental, and spiritual health may be suffering. Our youth and college students have temporarily given up seeing their teachers, classmates, friends, and have had to adjust to remote learning. There are many challenges and stressors before us, however God is always with us, and His grace and love carry us through this storm. Celebrating Mental Health Awareness month is more important than ever!
Holy Yoga classes have also provided spiritual and emotional care to us as we navigate this new reality. This week in Holy Yoga, our focus has been on waiting on the Lord. As we wait, may we experience His peace, and share His peace with others. May we seek God in all of our waiting moments.
I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month this year, it is so important that we support one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. A few tips from the CDC to cope with stress during COVID-19:
1. PAUSE. Breathe. Acknowledge how you feel.
2. TAKE BREAKS from COVID-19 content
3. MAKE TIME to sleep and exercise
4. REACH OUT and stay connected (call one another, FaceTime, send cards, host a zoom meeting)
5. SEEK HELP if overwhelmed or unsafe or alone
Additional Mental Health Resources:
NJ Mental Health Hotline: Dial # 211
*Note: There are many Telehealth options available for those struggling with mental health and stress issues. #211 can help you find an appropriate practitioner.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Dial # 1-800-273-TALK
Did You Know:
Physical exercise is the single most important activity you can do to keep your brain healthy. Exercise can boost blood flow sending positive nutrients to the brain, increase your levels of dopamine, and generate new brain cells that can help the brain self-regulate and calm down. The simple exercise of walking can help you clear your mind, decrease anxious thoughts, improve your mood and burn calories all at the same time.
In His service,
Colleen Bottcher RN, BSN, FCN
NJ District Parish Nurse