To be honest, at first I didn’t even want to write this article. It’s hard to feel “inspiring” when everything at the moment is focused on “surviving,” getting through days of what seems to be bleaker and bleaker news and wondering when and how it is all going to end. So, I have a great suggestion. Do what I did:
- Cut out the news. I stopped turning on the news a few days ago because it wasn’t helping my spirit. I have made a conscious effort to limit the news I watch, read, or listen to and I make a concerted effort to feed myself with only happy things.
- Read the scriptures. What is happier than the Good News (i.e. the Gospels)? I put the scriptures of the day on audio and I try to write a homily for myself each day. Christ gives me my own personal message and I love it. Try it!
- Begin the day by setting the right tone (not by turning on the TV and being fed the crazy stuff mentioned above). I began my day today by sitting in the sunshine and reading an architectural magazine. Don’t laugh; I love both sunshine and architecture. It was only for about 15 minutes, but I was a different man as I entered my work. I called a friend who lost her dad to the virus last night and then I joined in on, what feels like, hours of boring long work zoom conference calls. It didn’t sap my energy. I was the man I believe Jesus was calling me to be. What healthy thing are you going to do to begin your day tomorrow?
- Try sticking to a schedule. Being all by myself, sticking to a routine is not easy. My self-discipline seems to have gone out the window. So, I asked for help. Each night, I have a friend make sure that I get a reminder call to get ready for bed (so I don’t stay up till one in the morning like I got in the habit of). I put an alarm on my phone too so that I will stick to a schedule of prayer.
- Get the blood pumping. I get exercise. If you know me, you may think that last statement is a lie, but it is true. My dog and I go on numerous walks around the parking lot each day. We are getting out so much, I am actually feeding her more since she is losing weight.
- Reward yourself. I myself don’t have to worry about wasting away, because I have balanced the weight I may have lost thru exercise by ingesting my fair share of potato chips since the lockdown began. That is ok though. I let myself have a reward at the end of the day because I worked hard. How are you going to reward yourself?
- Acknowledge that this is rough, but don’t stay there. I try to balance my pain by reminding myself of the good people in the world who are reaching out: people singing to the isolated elderly from the sidewalk; people handing out the food in those way too long lines, the front line workers, my friend who adopted two kittens; the people who have called me to check on me, and more. Who do you see practicing the work of Jesus?
- Be kind. I noticed too that some people have developed a shorter fuse since all this craziness began. Kindness is a natural antidote to misery and despair, so anything that we can do to help each other makes us collectively stronger. Using your God given gifts will help not only others, but you as well.
“Bad times, hard times — this is what people keep saying: but let us live well and times shall be good.
We are the times. Such as we are, such are the times.” – Saint Augustine of Hippo