Dr. Peacock: How to LIVE through this COVID-19 Challenge
By Dr. Gretchen Peacock, Special to The Paper
Having been a therapist for 35 years, I must say, “I have never seen anything like this” and I have seen a lot! My desire is to help my clients learn to live well.
This COVID-19 Challenge brings many difficulties to the mental health of us all, particularly with the social distancing mandate. Developing healthy social connections has always been one of the main goals of my therapeutic work, yet we are now saddled with a social disconnect and the adverse consequences of it.
Recently, I have seen an increase in anxiety, loneliness, boredom, frustration, and hopelessness. There is a plethora of bad news constantly being fed to us. My purpose is to help people maneuver through this crazy challenge and to LIVE well through it. A few suggestions follow in the form of an acrostic:
We tend to only focus on the negative around us. Finding the positive must be searched for. I have been in awe of the beauty of this spring. The gorgeous colors have served as a reminder that life comes forth after the barrenness of winter. The various evidences of our amazing community spirit have touched my heart. Prayers for our healthcare workers, groups making masks, and the sharing of toilet paper are things we could easily miss if we don’t notice.
Because of our busy lives, we often put off doing soul-filling activities. I now have time to practice the piano and get some reading done. Numerous people are gardening. My husband has been working extra hard on our yard. Several of my teenagers are cooking. One even made her first pickles! There is no excuse not to exercise, go out for a walk. Talk to your neighbors, even at a distance. Catch up on those movies you have wanted to see. Use this gift of time.
Our viewpoints at this time can be quite gloomy. I said earlier to look around, but we also need to adjust our point of view, more of a glass half full than a half empty one. This is a time to develop a higher perspective. Begin searching for a spiritual connection that can help transform your journey. Philippians 4:6-8 addresses our anxiety and gives us eight positives to think on in order to have “the peace of God which passes all understanding.”
Often we limit ourselves. I encourage you to do something you have never done before. Learn to dance, pick up a musical instrument, learn to identify different varieties of trees, flowers and birds. Use a journal to express deeper parts of yourself. Let’s get off our screens and actually communicate, either on the phone or in person with those in your household . Write notes to people and mail them. We have received cards the past few days out of the blue. I know it is not comfortable to stretch, but it is beneficial to our psyches. I have had to learn Doxy for my virtual therapy sessions. My kids joke about how “untechy” I am. My husband is even learning to fix my hair. Now, that is a definite stretch! We must not limit ourselves.
One more thing, it is imperative that we keep talking to one another and bearing each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). We must not forget, we are all in this together.
Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold I will do a new thing.” Let this new COVID-19 challenge create new and positive experiences for you. We will look back and say, “Remember when …. we didn’t just endure it, we LIVEd well through it.
Dr. Gretchen Peacock has been a therapist in Georgia for over 25 years. She is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA with a doctorate in Marriage and Family. Dr. Peacock has special expertise in helping people cope with loss, including death, divorce, and physical or sexual trauma. She has been married to her husband, Gary, for thirty-seven years and has three grown sons.