It’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t exactly looked like most of us expected. Even if you haven’t been physically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, you’ve likely felt the effects somehow. Maybe you lost your job or had your hours cut. Maybe you’re struggling with stress or anxiety. Or maybe you’re just spending way more time at home than you ever expected.
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I’ve personally felt more on edge than I usually am, and found myself getting angry at silly things that typically wouldn’t bother me. In striving to take care of myself during this strange time, I’ve put a particular emphasis on maintaining my spiritual health. How can we stay spiritually connected when we’re all physically separated? Here are a few tips I’m relying on that may help.
Stream church services online
When my church announced that they’d be canceling services for the foreseeable future, I realized how much I had taken our Sunday services for granted. Some Sundays, I’d even grumble about waking up early and wish I had more time to sleep in. Lately, I’d give anything to catch up with my friends before church.
Now that I can’t physically attend church, I’m so grateful for livestreams. If your church isn’t broadcasting its services, you can digitally join another community’s service. Here’s a database of Protestant churches that offer livestreams, and you can stream Catholic Mass via CatholicTV. My church livestreams all of its services on Facebook, but I’ve also enjoyed watching Elevation Church on YouTube.
Adopt a daily devotional
I spend an embarrassing amount of time scrolling through Twitter these days, and it’s easy for me to feel fearful and despair about the state of the world. For the sake of my mental and spiritual health, though, I’ve started carving out time for devotions during breakfast every morning before I start my workday. It only takes a few minutes and helps me start the day with a positive mindset. You can order a physical devotional, but I love the YouVersion Bible app — it’s convenient and free.
Check in with your faith community
One of my favorite parts of attending a weekly church service is seeing the like-minded friends I’ve made. My faith community has prayed for me when I needed it most, and they’ve become more like family over the years. Not seeing them every Sunday and throughout the week has proven harder than I expected, and I miss face-to-face contact. In the meantime, though, I’ve started to schedule FaceTime and Zoom calls with fellow parishioners with whom I’m close. It isn’t the same as seeing them in person, but it helps me feel less lonely.
Pray for the needs of the people around you
Coronavirus is wreaking havoc on our economy and healthcare system, and it’s natural to feel helpless when so many are suffering. Pray for your city and the people in your community, and reach out to the people in your life to find out if they have specific prayer requests. Even sharing a Facebook status or Tweet offering to pray for people can go a long way.
I recently asked my Instagram followers to share what they were struggling with, and the response was overwhelming in a good way. I was happy my digital community could care for each other.
Donate your time or money
If you’re searching for a way to stay spiritually plugged-in, consider serving the people around you during this unprecedented crisis. Millions of people around the U.S. are struggling financially due to unexpected job loss, and donating funds to a local charity or food bank is a practical way to help. If you don’t have any money to spare, that’s okay! You can offer to go on a grocery run for an elderly neighbor, or sew a mask for a healthcare worker. Regardless of your resources, there are ways to help — and you’ll probably feel better after.
We don’t know when the coronavirus crisis will end, and it’s a scary time for a lot of us. But if you choose to be proactive, you can make subtle changes to your daily routine that make a big difference in the long run. Even though I’m still struggling with loneliness because of isolation, these adjustments have made me feel a lot better spiritually, and it’s helped me use my faith community as a support system.