How to Find Joy During Social Distancing

Are you struggling to stay happy during the COVID-19 outbreak? You can still find peace and contentment even during these tough times. Here is how to find joy during social distancing.

How to find joy during social distancing

Fear Is the Real Infection

I don’t fear the virus so much. I have a father who has major heart disease and complications from that. I have a son who has severe reactive asthma. I certainly fear it for them. I will be secluding myself in my home for likely the next twelve weeks. But that isn’t what really scares me. The truth is, many will get it and the great majority of us will be just fine.

To be honest, I fear people. I fear their hysteria and panic. Already videos are starting to emerge of people fighting in stores over toilet paper. Toilet paper! The world is not ending. At least not by a virus. People need to calm down. The biggest threat to society is not the virus, it’s panic.

Like all pestilence, Coronavirus will run its course around the globe. In fact, most of the world is already fully involved. Let the bug do its thing. Social distancing will flatten the curve so as not to overwhelm our healthcare system all at once. This bug will never go away. It will make its rounds every year now, much like the flu. Get used to that idea.

Don’t forget that out of all the countries in the world, we in the U.S. have a great advantage. We have a robust health system, some of the top minds, ingenuity, and some of the greatest resources. In twelve to eighteen months, we can even expect to have a vaccine. Already some medications like those used to treat HIV and Malaria look promising in treating Coronavirus. We will be just fine. This will pass. It will not last forever. Stay calm.

Focus On What Really Matters

That said, I want to share how to find joy during social distancing. You know, in some ways, there are silver linings in all of this. I’ve lived in other countries before. Americans are very busy! At the very least, this is causing our busy lives to slow down. Over the next few weeks, we will all be forced to take note of the things that really matter in life.

When this is all over, we will appreciate a lot more. We will appreciate being able to go straight into a store and being able to pick up a pack of toilet paper. Every restaurant will be packed with people. Pews in churches will be full. Things like this show us what we take for granted.

How to Find Joy During Social Distancing

Turn Off the News

Seriously, turn it off. I found myself doing that this week. This will only bring on feelings of doom, panic, and fear. You already know what you need to know about the virus. You really don’t need to know much more than that. If you want to start feeling “normal” again, turn off the news. The media has already poured gasoline all over this and lit this thing on fire. They’re responsible for inciting the panic we are seeing. Reject it. Choose calm.

Don’t Panic Buy

Like I said, I don’t fear the virus, I fear the hysteria. Most people don’t think of themselves as being hysterical. Hysteria is really just acting out of extreme emotion. Its letting emotion determine your actions instead of common sense, logic, and reason.

You see things disappearing from the shelves and you think, “I better buy some now or there won’t be any left when I need it.” So you grab one. Then you think, ” I better grab two or three. There won’t be any for me.” This fear of missing out is a self-fulfilling prophecy. People overbuy because they fear there will be a shortage. Shelves are empty. So they attempt to buy more fearing there is nothing more coming. Now a shortage grows and it drains supply chains. And the cycle continues. Stop the madness. Decide that from now on, you will only buy what you would normally buy. The only way this cycle stops is when people decide to return to normal.

Don’t just do your part to flatten the curve. Do your part to end the insanity. Choose which emotion you will feed – peace or fear.

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Connect With Someone Everyday

Text your friends. Reach out to relatives. Take advantage of FaceTime and other video chats. Connect through Facebook or IG Live. Utilize the tools we have to stay in touch virtually. I even took some time this week to write some letters to family. I challenge you to reach out to at least one person every day. Check up on people. It’s very important to maintain socialization even though we are physically distant. Its the heart of what it means to be human. Now is a great time to focus on maintaining and investing in relationships.

Photo by Alexa Suter on Unsplash

Get Outside

Did you know your body’s brain chemistry responds to sunlight? When your body detects sunlight through the optic nerve, your melatonin levels decrease (the neurochemical that makes you feel sluggish and sleepy) and your serotonin increases (the neurochemical that elevates mood). If you have a backyard, spend as much time as you can in it. Go for a walk around your neighborhood. If you are in an apartment, take your laptop on the balcony and work outside. We aren’t stuck indoors. We are just trying to stay physically distant from others. Take a hike in nearby hills. Grill out and eat dinner outside. Have your kids ride their bikes. Garden. Spend some time outdoors and you won’t feel so cooped up. Remember we aren’t avoiding the outdoors, we are avoiding crowds.

Move Your Body

Staying active can do wonders for your mood. Try to stay active even while we are at home these next few weeks. Take a walk. Exercise. Just move your body. It increases serotonin levels, makes you feel refreshed and gives you more energy. These days, there are lots of home workouts you can stream. You can even find free ones on YouTube.

Stay Grateful

Part of the panic buying is because we are afraid we “do not have.” One way to stay grounded during a time when others are fretting and worrying is to remember all that we already have. We have already been given much. I challenge you to take five minutes out of every day and write down five things for which you are grateful. Alternatively, you can do my Gratitude Journal Prompts and answer one question a day. Staying grateful helps you stay positive. Focus on the positive!

Encourage Others

Over the last couple of days, I’ve seen people on Facebook asking for posts that aren’t virus-related. The constant bombardment of the panic, hysteria, and fear-mongering posts is stressful. I admit I was sharing a lot of that stuff. But as I scrolled through my newsfeed and saw people begging for something else – anything else – I decided that I will start turning the tide. I’m going to start posting normal, everyday things. Happy things. Encouraging things. I’m going to be a light in the darkness. I will remind people that it’s going to be okay. People need to hear that.

I challenge you, go out and be a light. Be encouraging. Be uplifting. Spread peace. Invite calm. Don’t engage the fear, the hysteria, and the madness.

Take Breaks From Social Media

That said, take a break from social media. I know it can feel like a lifeline right now, but its also flooded with virus-related negativity, debates, and fear-mongering news. I’m not purposing that we stick our head in the sand when I suggest avoiding this. I’m suggesting balance. Take breaks and get your mind off coronavirus for a little while. The truth is, social media hasn’t connected us the way we’d hoped. If anything it made relationships more hollow. If you really want to know what is going on in someone’s life right now, pick up the phone and call them, FaceTime, or text them. Today I avoided social media and it felt amazing! I had no idea how much anxiety was being driven by Facebook.

Pray

I once read something that described anxiety as a fear-centric TV show that we produce and direct ourselves. We take snippets of images and themes in our head and turn it into a fear-centric show with ourselves as the star. We imagine and play out our worst fears over and over again as if it is really happening. Prayer is effective because it makes God the star and not us. God becomes the hero. Exactly one year ago, I created a 30-day scripture reading for anxiety and fear. You can follow along by doing one verse per day.

I highly encourage you to pray when you start feeling overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety, worry or fear. God promises never to leave us in times like these. More than any other phrase in the bible, the “do not fear” mantra appears more than 300 times in scripture. God knew how scared we would be about the unknown, but he tells us over and over again that we are not to fear, not to panic and he is always with us. Scared? Pray. Worried? Pray. Anxious? Pray. Ask the Holy Spirit for his peace.

February Scripture Reading

Create & Stay Busy

Most people don’t idle well. When our brain isn’t engaged, sadness and boredom can set in. Stay busy. The biggest silver lining in all of this is that we are being forced to slow down. We are normally so busy and this is forcing us to cut out obligations and events. Take a week or two just to rest. Then get back to keeping active. Treat it like a staycation. Attitude is everything!

  • Find a way to volunteer virtually.
  • Try new recipes in your cookbook.
  • Bring out your craft supplies and create something.
  • Play virtual games with friends.
  • Declutter / reorganize your home
  • Mix cocktails at home.
  • Play games as a family.
  • Read or Host a Virtual Book Club
  • Write short stories
  • Stream exercise videos (there are lots on youtube)
  • Take some online courses.
  • Learn a new language
  • Garden
  • Binge watch some movies
  • Keep a journal
  • Wash your cars
  • Learn a new skill
  • Do a crossword puzzle
  • Do woodworking
  • Get some DIY projects done. Fix things you’ve been meaning to fix.
  • Take virtual tours of museums, national parks, etc
  • Put your Christmas lights back up to add some cheer.

I’ll write a separate post on all the things you can do at home, but here are some ideas to start with.

Help Others

Helping others has a dual effect. Obviously, it helps someone in need, but it also makes us feel all warm and fuzzy. It feels good to help other people. The panic buying? That”s selfishness. Reach out to those around you and see how you can help each other. Barter supplies. Do small acts of kindness for people you know. Check in with elderly neighbors. See if they need anything. In moments like these, the world needs our humanity, kindness, and mercy. If you are looking for a more corporate way of giving back, there are websites online that allow you to volunteer virtually.

Treat Yourself

I didn’t really get to celebrate my birthday because of all of this. Normally I’m not a big birthday person, but it was a milestone this year. I turned 40. So this week, I decided to treat myself to some art supplies that I wanted. A couple of nights ago, for example, I made a few dozen chocolate chip cookies for absolutely no reason. These days, you may feel very worried. Make sure to take opportunities to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself here and there to small, simple pleasures.

If you are feeling stressed over this, remember to take this one day at a time and reject worrying about the weeks ahead. Keep busy with your family and remember that this will all end soon. We will survive this.

If you are looking for things to do with your kids at home take a look at my post, Boredom Busters for Kids.

Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison

No one wants to admit they are jealous, but if you’re battling to happy in the successes of others, this is for you. Join me for scripture reading Jealousy and Comparison.

scripture reading jealousy and comparison

Hello friend. This month’s scripture reading is going to be centered around jealousy and comparison. I think this is a neglected topic, specifically in modern Christianity, so let’s talk about it.

What is Jealousy and Envy

Envy, jealousy and comparison are feelings rooted in insecurity, greed, and pride. Jealousy is the feeling of being replaced or outshined by a rival. Envy is the coveting or discontentment by another’s possessions, circumstances, or qualities. Both of them keep us from realizing our own potential.

Social media, for example, is a great catalyst for feelings of envy. It provides us an intimate glimpse into someone’s private life. We see their vacations, fun events, new houses, new jobs, and even romantic relationships. It’s easy to start comparing your life against someone else’s. Perhaps a friend’s life seems more exciting than yours. Maybe someone seems to be surrounded by countless friends or maybe a neighbor or coworker always seems to have financial blessings.

By the way, if you feel that social media causes these feelings to arise, I suggest quick amputation either temporarily or permanently. For help on quitting social media see my two posts Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook and Social Media Detox.

I’m Not That Jealous

Many of us don’t think of ourselves as overly jealous, but here are some basic questions you might ask if you feel there is a problem. (Excerpt from the book Mind Over Emotions by Les Carter)

  • Do you work hard to come out looking good in situations?
  • Do you tend to be status conscious?
  • Do you need a lot of recognition for achievements?
  • Do you find it hard to pay compliments to others?
  • Do you base your self image on your performance?
  • Do you have hidden feelings of inferiority?
  • Do you complain about unfair treatment?
  • Are you willing to pass on negative rumors about a successful person?

Overcoming Jealousy

Remember Your Identity in Christ

Earlier this year, I shared a scripture reading post, Identity in Christ. Knowing who you are in Christ really does solve a lot of life’s problems. Jealousy and often spark feelings of insecurity and inferiority. The way we fight that is to remember what scripture says about us. I encourage you to read my post if you are wrangling with self-worth issues. Root yourself in the God’s loving view of you.

Stay Grateful

The deeper my relationship with Christ, the more I understand the need for gratitude. It really is the remedy for lots of our problems. We limit the power comparison has over us when we focus on our own blessings. Yes, they are blessed, but so are you! If you are keeping score and trying to balance blessings on a scale, you will be eternally frustrated. Furthermore, I’ve learned to realize that many times the blessings of others pour into my life as well.

Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.

Harold Coffin

Perhaps you have a friend who is talented at party planning. Maybe you’ve even asked her to teach you, but you can’t seem to do it with the same ease and creativity as she does. You can be envious of her gift or you can be grateful that you have access to her talents and imagination when you need party planning help. A perspective of gratitude is a great cure for envy.

Develop an Attitude of Abundance

Envy ensues when you feel an imbalance of success, gifts, or talents. This perceived disproportion causes feelings of insecurity and fear – as if there are only so many blessings to go around. For instance, sibling rivalry is the feeling of being overshadowed by a sibling. It can create feelings of scarcity when it comes to the love of a parent (e.g. if my mom loves my sister there will be less love for me).

Therefore, we must retrain our minds to have an attitude of abundance. There is such a thing as “healthy competition.” My dad used to say, “there is always room for one more hamburger stand.” “Competition” isn’t something to fear. There is always more where that came from! That’s because God owns it all. He is the one who bestows gifts, blessings, and talents and he never runs empty. There is never a need to be jealous once you realize that God has a future full of blessings for you (Jeremiah 29:11). I promise you this…he will never run out of favor.

Also, in 2 Corinthians (v. 9-8) Paul reminds us the reason behind abundant blessings – not for our glory, but for HIS. So that we “will abound in every good work.” Finally, we’re also told in Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) and Deuteronomy (28:12) that we go through seasons of blessings and droughts.

abundance

Ask God To Remove It

The first thing I recommend doing when these feelings spring up is to confess it. Tell God how you feel and why you are struggling with it. Confession is powerful because secrets control us. They become a stronghold. The enemy would love nothing more that to see you fester in resentment. Reject it and ask God to help you work through those feelings. Also, ask him to help you recognize the blessings he’s already given you and to give you an attitude of gratitude.

If you should desire to be like anyone, let it be Christ and not other sinners and imperfect people (Proverbs 23:17).

Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison

Thank you for joining me for Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. Also, take a look at my earlier Scripture Reading Topics:

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Gratitude Journal Prompts

Get your mind off your problems and on the good things happening in your life with these gratitude journal prompts.

Gratitude Journal Prompts

This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you. Your support helps me offset the costs incurred with this blog.

Why Gratitude

Gratitude can totally change your perspective on life. Being mindful about the good things in your life help you focus on happier things instead of problems. The truth is everyone has problems and we face one problem after another. If you’re waiting for your problems to go away before you can be happy, you’ll be waiting your whole life.

Choose to be happy where you are, right now. There is always something for which to be grateful. Keeping a gratitude journal has show in studies to directly impact our happiness.

If you’re interested in additional journaling ideas, see my post 50 Journal Prompts. Here are just some of the benefits to keeping a gratitude journal.

  • Brings a feeling of calm
  • Helps relieve stress
  • Takes the focus off your negative problems
  • Helps you find what matters most to you
  • Learn more about yourself
  • Aids with depression
  • Makes you more mindful
  • Notice that small good things really are happening in your life

Today, I’m providing a list of gratitude journal prompts to help get you started.

Gratitude Journal Prompts
Courtesy of Unsplash

Gratitude Journal Prompts

  1. What are you grateful for financially?
  2. List things that have helped you get through hard times.
  3. What are you glad your parents taught you?
  4. Name 3 things you’re glad you learned in school.
  5. Describe a time you thought something wouldn’t work out, but did.
  6. List 3 things you love most about each of your children.
  7. Name a physical feature you love about yourself.
  8. What do you love most about your job? (If you’re at home, what do you love most about it?)
  9. If you could go back and thank someone from your past, who would it be and why?
  10. What do you love most about your spouse?
  11. Name something hard that ended up being good for you.
  12. For what talents are you most grateful?
  13. What has been your best experience this year?
  14. Describe a time you were grateful to be forgiven.
  15. List 5 things you love most about your personality.
  16. What do you think friends love most about you?
  17. Name 10 people you are grateful for.
  18. What was the best part of your day today?
  19. Write the last compliment you remember receiving.
  20. List things that make you feel comforted.
  21. Why are you grateful for your freedom?
  22. Which of the 5 senses are you most grateful to have?
  23. Describe a memory from your childhood that makes you happy.
  24. List ten things you take for granted.
  25. Why are you grateful for your family?

I hope these prompts help you realize you have reasons to be happy and content. In the comments below, I’d love to hear some of the things you are grateful for.

January Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ

Are you struggling with self-esteem and confidence? Maybe you are disappointed in yourself or struggling to forgive yourself. In those moments, it helps to remember who God says you are. This year, I’ll be offering a monthly scripture reading plan. Join me for the January Scripture Reading Plan: Identity In Christ

Identity in Christ

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Today, I’m sharing something close to my heart – our identity in Christ. I wish I could say that 2018 had been kind to me, but honestly it was a hard year. First, I had a complicated pregnancy, followed by a hard birth and my son’s club foot treatments. Secondly, I’ve had severe postpartum depression. Lastly, I experienced a toxic friendship which ultimately left me without friends or my beloved mom’s support group.

Harsh words were exchanged and sadly, the situation made me question every aspect of my personality, my qualities, and my identity. In those moments, we can believe the enemy’s lies or we can choose to remember our identity in Christ.

Losing Our Identity

It is very easy to get caught up in what the world thinks about you. Our image and reputation becomes important to us starting as children. It’s formed by assumptions, accusations, criticism, popularity, and rejection. Soon, it becomes our inner voice and how we see ourselves. It’s the ground work for insecurity, negative self-talk, and low self-esteem.

Maybe a parent or teacher didn’t think much of us. Those words have a way of haunting us even years afterwards. But here is the good news. Our non-Christian identity is not our true identity.

The world is quick to label us. For example, the world says I’m a woman. I’m a minority. I’m middle class. The world has called me a “know-it-all,” fat, an overachiever, and condescending. According to the world, I’m not normal because I have bi-polar. The world will say I don’t measure up and that I’m unworthy of love and acceptance. Maybe you have heard similar things. But your identity in Christ is far from what the world thinks.

God’s Unstoppable Love For Us

The beauty about our identity in Christ is that it is not dependent upon our accomplishments or failures. The love and acceptance we have in Christ is not dependent upon us or our deeds. It is freely given by a loving and perfect God.

It’s hard to remember, especially when we don’t have the love of the world. After all, if people can’t love us as we are, how can a perfect God? He sees everything I do. He watches me when I’m haughty and self-righteous. He knows when my tongue goes from surly to downright venomous.

Thankfully, God does not love as people love. His love is unconditional. He loves us even when fail to measure up. Mankind revokes grace and mercy when we repeatedly fail. But His grace is new every day (Lam 3:22-23).

Certainly, I have asked if God truly loves me at my worst. Isn’t that what we all want to know? How much does God love us and does He love us when we fail at everything we touch? When Paul asks, “can anything separate us from the love of Christ,” haven’t we all wondered that?

The apostle Paul professes in Romans 8:38-39 (NLT):

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Enemy’s Voice

People are going to say mean, hate-filled things to us and over us. We will never be able to stop people from doing that, but the enemy will try use it against us. He knows how insecure we can be and therefore, he will remind us of every fault, mistake and flaw to keep us trapped in a web of self-loathing. He wants us paralyzed, convinced we are unloved.

It’s almost embarrassing to say, but I was there. Over the last several months those words haunted me every day. I truly felt hated – like I was the worst person alive and I just wanted to crawl into a hole and never come out. That’s just what the devil is hoping for too.

The enemy wants to steal your joy, kill your confidence and destroy your spirit. He wants you broken, confused, defeated, desperate and exhausted. Christ however, wants to give you goodness and give it in abundance. If you doubt that for one second, read John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they may have life and have it to the fullest.

God has good plans for us (Jer 29:11). To clarify, this does not mean we never experience hardships or cruelty from others. It means those things no longer have power over us.

Remember this – no matter what someone calls you, no matter what someone says you are – God says different!

Who God Says You Are

Finding these scriptures was a fun exercise, because honestly, I could have done this for a year! The more I read, the more excited I get.

God says you are:

  • Anointed (1 John 2:27)
  • His child (1 John 3:1-2)
  • Accepted (Rm 15:7)
  • Included (Eph 1:13)
  • Forgiven (1 John 1:9)
  • Justified (Rm 3:24)
  • Adopted (Eph 1:5)
  • Blessed when you come and go (Deut 28:6)
  • An oak of righteousness (Is 61:3)
  • Marked with His Seal (Eph 1:13)
  • Chosen (1 Pet 2:9)
  • Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13)
  • Worth dying for (Rm 5:8)
  • A conqueror (Rm 8:37)
  • A soldier in the army of Christ (2 Tim 2:3-4)
  • Ordained and Sanctified (Jeremiah1:5)
  • A citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20)
  • Appointed (John 15:16)
  • His heir (Eph 1:11)
  • Free (Heb 9:15)
  • A priest (or Priestess) (1 Pet 2:5)
  • Redeemed (Is 44:22 / Ps 111:9)
  • Precious (Is 43:4)
  • A Saint (Eph 2:19)
  • An Ambassador (2 Cor 5:18-30
  • Without blemish (Col 1:22)
  • A temple of the Holy Spirit (1 For 6:19-20)
  • Reconciled (Eph 2:8-9)

Feel better? Me too.

Though my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me in. (Psalm 27:10)

The post January Scripture Reading: Identity in Christ first appeared on My Beautiful Mess

Join me in February for Love and Kindness Scripture Reading. In the meantime, learn more about making wellness a priority in the post 30 Day Wellness Challenge