In Pastor Jeff's Blog

So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life. – Proverbs 4:23

These are challenging days, to say the least. Fears for our health and the health of loved ones. Economic uncertainty. Feeling cut off from treasured relationships. So much is out of our control. All of which can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. How do we care for our heart during this pandemic? What can we do to build resilience into our lives? Here are a few suggestions.

First, guard your inputs. We all have varied needs for information. For some of us its soothing to know the details of what’s going on in the world. But for others it can be overwhelming. If you find that the news stresses you out, limit your exposure. Turn off the TV. Put your phone away. Read a good book. Listen to music. Meditate. Spend some time on “good news” sites such as  What you feed your head and heart is every bit as important as what you feed your stomach.

Second, create structure. When so much feels out of our control, creating daily routines can minimize feelings of helplessness. One of the most helpful things I’ve done in the past few weeks is plan my schedule first thing in the morning. I write down everything I want to do that day and schedule it. This discipline has helped to keep me focused when I’m tempted to drift. And if you don’t have a morning routine, I’d urge you to design one to help ground you for the day. Not familiar with a morning routine? Read this.

Third, get active. In my experience, nothing counteracts stress more effectively than physical activity. And you don’t need to run a marathon to gain the benefits. Just taking a walk can clear your head and heal your body from the impact of stress. Whatever exercise your body will allow you to do, do it. Everyday. And remember…something is always better than nothing.

Fourth, stay connected. Social distancing works against our need for human connection and can leave us feeling isolated and abandoned. I have loved seeing the creative ways that people have found to stay connected. Virtual coffee or happy hours are common. I know someone who chooses two Facebook friends and two people from their address book to contact each day, just to check in. If you’re feeling lonely, don’t tough it out. Reach out in whatever way you can. We need one another.

Finally, get help. No matter how much we do to build resilience into our lives, sometimes our circumstances overwhelm us. If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, get in touch with a counselor. Most counselors are now available by phone or video conference. In Minnesota, here are a few recommended resources:

Additionally, Dakota County crisis hotline is available 24/7 at 952-891-7171 and there is a statewide text line available 24/7 by texting MN to 741741

We will get through this. God has us, and we have one another. Be safe and be well!

Pastor Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

** This blog was inspired by a Lead to Win podcast. You can listen to it here


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