The Mental Health Ministry team of Storrs Congregational Church UCC has gathered together a number of resources and suggestions, as well as encouraging thoughts, for coping with the mental health challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting season of stay-at-home isolation.
From Mike Lake: Some Ideas for Surviving Isolation
In this time of isolation, it is important to keep our perspective. We are aware of many difficulties and it is easy for our minds to be filled with them, spiraling us into a dark place. To prevent this we need to intentionally fill our minds with thoughts that focus on abundance and gratitude.
Each day choose one thing to be thankful for: beauty, flowers, food, sunshine…
Ten times a day say, “Thank you for…beauty or flowers or whatever you are thankful for.
This will help “fill your mind” with positive, good thoughts.
Limit your “News” time.
We have little or no control over the things that are reported on the “News.” Most of these reports are of negative or threatening events in the lives of others and we can do little to help. This makes us feel vulnerable and sometimes even afraid. So, listen to the news only once a day and never in the evening before bed.
Sing, play or listen to music
Sing, play or listen to pleasant, happy or soothing music. “…both performing and listening to music can have a significant impact on the immune system. (Hartford Courant, May 3, 2020).
Write, paint or draw
Each day write an affirmation, or prayer. Paint a picture of a beautiful object or scene. Draw a cartoon.
A suggested author: Julia Cameron
A suggested book: The Four Agreements
I look at the flower and see the universe. I am drawn to beauty but see the fragility. I am grateful for its presence and yet know it will pass. The wonder of its life, the intricacies of its roots, stem, leaves and petals fill me with awe. God’s creation inspires and entices me to be a flower for others. -RML
From Jan Hoyle:
When you are feeling overwhelmed and need “peace like a river,” take a ride to a body of water. Sit in the boat launch parking lot at Mansfield Hollow Park or by the Dam. There’s a quiet picnic area by the Natchaug River off Route 198 not far from the intersection with Rt. 44. Enjoy the silence and the sounds.
From Darryl Hilliard:
THIS TOO, SHALL PASS!
When things are bad, remember:
It won’t always be this way.
Take one day at a time.
When things are good, remember:
It won’t always be this way.
Enjoy every great moment.
From Charles Chester
“The more we have faith to get through this, the easier it will be!”
From my favorite song: “Be my sword, be my shield, as we claim victory over the enemy.” Cece Winans, “Waging War”. You can listen to it on Youtube.
From Kathy Lindner
Working on an art or craft project helps me. Get ideas at www.mybluprint.com. You can choose craft or art classes for about $20.
“It’s still a beautiful world.” (from Desiderata) Go outside on the sunny days and see something you haven’t seen before. Visit the horses on Horsebarn Hill. They really enjoy having visitors!
Call 1-800-678-8989, www.lifeextension.com and request a free copy of their latest magazine: Natural Methods to enhance immune function.
Suggested book: The soul’s slow ripening, by Christine Valters Paintner.
From Nancy Rucker
During this very challenging time, my prayers start with gratitude. I am thankful for God’s grace and love and the blessings of family and good friends, who are truly the family we choose for ourselves. I am thankful for LIFE, a special occasion, and for the choices I have, one of which is choosing to be happy. A loving relationship, connecting with friends, reading, sewing creatively, gardening and nature, walking trails, bodies of water – all have long contributed to my personal well being and happiness. I also pray for all those who are unhealthy, suffering, and stressed, and hope that as we all focus on the “now,” we also plan for a more positive future.
From Annetta Miller
I’ve been reading “What’s the Least I can Believe and Still be a Christian?” by the Rev. Martin Thielen. Matt used the book in his Bible 101 class (which I unfortunately was unable to attend) and I’d been meaning to read it for awhile. As the name of the class suggested, it’s an excellent primer on the fundamentals of faith and a reminder of why our work as a church is so important.
From John and Sharon Schneider
Sharon is looking forward to new challenges, unafraid and trusting in God. She is enjoying the budding flowers and trees, watching her cats cuddling by the window in the warmth of the sun with a view of the song birds. Her joy is talking with the children and grandchildren to find out how they are and what creative things they are doing while secluded at home.
John and Sharon enjoy visiting with “church friends” on Zoom and learning what will follow at the Wednesday Cafe Storrs Bible lesson. John enjoys YouTube’s Gardening and Fly Fishing videos, a distraction from what is really happening in the world. He is happy to have a place to be safe and comfortable, food and supplies and is glad for the ability of seeing and hearing that his extended family is doing well. “My thoughts and prayers are for others who are now experiencing hunger, disease and death.”If you have motivational thoughts and/or activities, send them to Kathy Lindner, firstname.lastname@example.org. We may compile another list for next week.
From Pastor Matt
There have been *lots* of good resources made available from our various church institutions and health organizations on dealing with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges in this time… challenges that may be new for some of us, and challenges that some of us perhaps already faced but are finding exacerbated significantly by what’s going on right now.
Check out these various links below (just click on the linked titles to be taken to the corresponding resource):
- Strategies for Coping with Anxiety during the Pandemic, a simple and helpful 2-page resource compiled by our friends at the Middlebury Congregational Church UCC and shared by the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.
- 30 Ways to Care for Yourself, Others, and Immigrants during COVID-19, from Church World Service
- Mental Well-Being during a Pandemic, a quick one-page resource from our friends at the Presbyterian Mental Health Network on dealing with “Stress, Fear, and Panic”, “Mental Well-being”, and “Spiritual Well-being”
- Five Ways to View Coverage of the Coronavirus, from the American Psychological Assocation
- Disaster Distress Helpline: The Disaster Distress Helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters: 1-800-985-5990. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Also, click here for an additional list of tips and resources from SAMHSA for “Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health” during social distancing, quarantine, and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak
Even further wealths of relevant and helpful resources and links in this area can be found on the websites of the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ and the Presbyterian Church USA’s Presbyterian Mission Agency.