It's been a few weeks, with Covid hitting our province. Our emergency department has made a lot of changes, and we continue preparing daily for the potential of what could come.
We stock bins of what we need in the room, we run mock drills, we memorize critical drug infusions, and it never seems to be enough, and something always changes.
As I reflected, I began to realize that work was usually my outlet, the place where I could use my skills effectively, serve and care for people well, and I normally felt at ease. With the descent of Covid, all I thought I knew, everything that used to be 'normal,' now has compounded stress, rather than the energizing outlet it always was.
The constant Covid headlines, preparation at work, and discussions with family and friends have the "c-word" running through my mind, almost constantly. I've taken some "c-word" timeouts, just to retreat and focus on something else. I dive into a book, help my kids with a project or start cleaning out a closet.
And, just like everyone else on the planet, my life has changed.
So, what do I do now?
I am learning much more acutely my own signs of stress, and realizing the utter importance of adding healthy practices to help me cope with it.
Knowing that this is the start of a longer haul, I know that I need to start practicing healthy rhythms, in order to keep from crashing - which is learned somewhat by trial and error.
It's time to get enough sleep! Working shifts can confuse my body at the best of times, and I am usually fairly determined to wake up early before the kids. This hasn't been helpful in the area of tiredness, so I am working on getting better at letting myself rest.
I need to exercise, especially during times of stress. I had been finishing papers, last week, along with my shifts at work and doing school with the kids, but I was becoming lax and lazy. That changed this week, because I just noticed I needed to. It's healthy to get fresh air, to move your limbs; it's a stress reducer, I just have to get up and do it! (if only it were always that simple).
Journaling is a big part of how I process life - my thoughts and emotions. Putting it down on paper, is my meditation, my prayer and most often leads me back to truth and setting my mind on the peace and goodness of God.
Capturing my thoughts, and when they stray too far into "what if..." and guide myself back to "even if." It was a lesson God was teaching me in Africa, through my daughter's transplant, and now as a virus sweeps the nation.
Taking the time to learn what God is teaching me now. Paying attention to what my thoughts are now. Putting healthy habits into practice now. All pieces of how God is shaping me during this season.
There is great hope in that we are clay in His hands, being molded by Him, formed into His likeness, as we surrender to His work in us.
"Peace I leave with you;my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27).
We are all in this together, learning about ourselves and each other. Learning to practice caring for ourselves, our families, and our faith.
So, how are you doing? What can you do now to help manage your stress?
**this post is written with the community at fiveminutefriday.com