Many people in America and around the world are practicing Social Distancing, Self Quarantine, and Self Isolation. The threat of a new virus with so many unknowns lurks about our minds as well as our newsfeeds and threads. The idea of a threat alone can cause enough stress in our lives. Staying indoors and limiting human contact adds a completely different layer of anxiety. In response, we are trying to practice good hygiene. Some of us are working out in our living rooms for physical activity. Grandparents and friends are trying to keep things as normal as possible with video chats. We keep our mind off of the news with intermittent binge-watching.
One area I see very little about is maintaining our Spiritual Health. Physical, mental, and social health is extremely important. It’s very easy to slip into the neglect of our souls. Many experts agree that Spiritual Health is just as important as any other health factor. Research has shown that individuals who prioritize their spiritual health may visit the doctor for illness less often, experience depression less often, feels more satisfied in their careers and relationships, and more.
You may be someone who takes their spiritual health very seriously or you may have never considered it. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, I want to offer some tips to help you maintain better spiritual health in these critical days.
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice! – Psalm 141:2
Prayer has been linked to reducing stress and anxiety. Several other studies have linked regular prayer to mental resilience. Some studies have even linked regular prayer to overall better well being. So how do you do it?
If prayer hasn’t been a regular habit for you, start by making time for it. Many people make time to go to the gym every morning or every evening, but they find it difficult to carve 30 minutes out of their schedule for prayer and meditation. Like anything else, if you don’t make time for it, you won’t actually do it.
Once you’ve set the time aside decide how you’re going to spend that time. Some people like to recite rewritten prayers from their traditions. There is a lot of value in this. Most of us struggle with knowing what to say or think. Pre-written prayers help give language to what is already going on in our souls. Other people like to be silent and try to clear their minds of worry and anxiety. Others are more comfortable forming their own words. Regardless of which way works best for you, start making it a regular practice and see how it improves your relationship with God and your overall wellbeing.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
I grew up being told that it was a good thing to read my Bible. I even sang a song in Sunday School that reminded me to read my Bible every day or I’d “shrink, shrink, shrink.” I believe that’s true. I can make many theological claims as to why. However, there is research that shows it’s good as well. The Center for Bible Engagement did a study and found out that those who read their Bibles more than four times a week were 30% less likely do feel lonely, 57% less likely to get drunk, 68% less likely to have an affair, and at least 57% less likely to engage in other habits that are viewed as unhealthy or negative.
I would encourage you to read some scripture every day. Whether you’re a big reader or not, some reading of Scripture will help, especially in times like these.
As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace – 1 Peter 4:10
It’s one thing to pray and to read Scripture. Those practices will help, but they’ll only take you so far. You need to find ways to put what you’re learning into action in your life. Serving others is a great way to do that. It will be good for your soul as well as for the one you’re helping.
One obvious way would be to pick up necessary items when you’re shopping for yourself. Many who fall into a high-risk category need others to help them get essential items so they can limit exposure at places like grocery stores. You could ask them if they need anything. To limit contact you may need to leave it on their porch or doorstep.
Another way to help is by sharing your knowledge. Many kids are doing e-learning for the first time. Video tutoring nieces, nephews, or other kids close to you could be a great way to serve others in need right now. God has given you a very specific gift. He didn’t give it to you for no reason. He gave it to you on purpose. You may have to dig and get creative, but He wants you to use that gift for the benefit of others, even now.
During this time we all need to be taking care of ourselves. Please continue to tend to your physical, mental, and social health without neglecting your spiritual well being.