Finding PEACE This Season
2020 Has Been a Rough Year
We have been through a tumultuous year. In 2020 we have dealt with COVID-19, quarantines, school closings, lock-downs, job losses, recession, canceled vacations and weddings, deaths of loved ones, hurricanes, and this crazy national election. I think all of us have experienced an increase in anxiety as a result of all we’ve gone through this year. How do we deal with this increased anxiety?
‘Tis the Season for Peace on Earth
The opposite of anxiety is peace. Peace is one of the themes of Advent. As Christmas nears, I encourage each of you to ponder how you can find some added peace this season. If you celebrate the birth of Jesus, focus on the many ways that your faith can bring you peace. The YouVersion Bible App has over 70 reading plans that focus specifically on “peace.”
10 Tips to Increase Peace Through Self-Care
In addition to faith, self-care is an important aspect of creating peace in our lives. We live in a society that is go, go, go all the time. We are bombarded with media, much of it negative, on our phones, on TV, radio, and social media. Many of us find it difficult to shut work off at the end of the workday. So how do we practice self-care and build some needed rest and peace into our lives? How can we experience less anxiety and more peace?
1. Margin-just like margins on a paper make words on a page easier to read, margin in our lives makes us feel more at peace. We are not meant to be going 24/7. Our lives need margin. We need to plan time into our schedule to relax, unwind, and refuel.
2. Mindfulness-enjoy the moment. Don’t spend too much energy regretting the past or worrying about tomorrow. When was the last time you really noticed and enjoyed the food you were eating, or noticed the sound of the birds singing, or took in the beauty of nature as you went for a walk? Mindfulness is about using our five senses to thoroughly take in and enjoy our surroundings. It helps us stay grounded in the present and get out of our anxious thoughts.
3. Social support-We are not meant to do life alone. Quarantine has made this very difficult for many people, especially the elderly. Find ways to connect with others in a meaningful way. Prioritize your close relationships. Take time to enjoy a leisurely meal with your family. Schedule regular Zoom calls with family and friends who you can’t see in person.
4. Sleep-get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Turn off the electronics at least 30 minutes before bed so that your brain has time to wind down. The blue light from our electronic devices prevent our brains from producing melatonin, which is important for sleep.
5. Eat healthy-reduce caffeine and sugar intake. Healthy eating will improve your physical and mental health.
6. Exercise-All of us know the benefits of exercise. We just need to do it. Myself included. It helps us manage stress, reduce anxiety, and lift our mood.
7. Boundaries-know when to say “no.” Turn off work when you are at home. Check emails once or twice a day, instead of every time you get a notification on your phone. Maybe turn off some of those phone notifications.
8. Hobbies-Make time for things that bring you joy.
9. Spiritual Practices-meditate, pray, attend worship services.
10. Practice Gratitude-when we focus on the positive things in our lives, we find a greater sense of peace and contentment.