Create Stability in Your Life by Building Spiritual Wellness During Crisis Events
The only constant is change, which is of little comfort to most of us these days. While there are good changes (weddings, new family members, social reforms, technological innovations), it’s safe to say that after six months of 2020, most of the world is reeling from the major changes we’ve had to make. From mass unemployment to being stuck at home for months on end, wrangling children while working from home to simply wearing a mask to go out in public, there have been so many changes to adapt to that no one would blame you if you’re feeling a little—or a lot—burned out.
What’s the answer? For many people, it’s building (or building upon) a spiritual life. Whether you believe in God, the universe, a non-specific higher power or one of thousands of religions, focusing on the bigger picture has long been a comfort to humanity.
Spirituality and faith can help you cope
With the staggering amount of uncertainty and injustice in the news lately, many are finding that looking for a greater good and turning outward is how they cope with these rapidly changing times. This is especially true for those who are isolated without nearby family and friends to help ease the burden of isolation.
There are three ways that spirituality and religion make crises a little easier to deal with:
- First, it encourages you to reframe events in a more hopeful way;
- Second, you can create or join rituals that give you structure and meaning, connecting you to your innermost values like unconditional love, justice and peace, among others;
- Finally, it gives you a sense of connectedness—to the world or simply to your community of faith.
Whether you’re a card-carrying Catholic or you prefer tarot cards, spirituality offers you some big-picture perspective when your world has shrunken down significantly.
How to incorporate the lessons of spirituality into your pandemic-era life
Experts suggest addressing the pandemic and all its effects in a few different ways: finding ways to fill your time, looking at it as an opportunity for growth and doing your best to help others.
First, when we are lonely and idle, humans tend to crumple under the pressure. Depression, anxiety and grief all come from feeling stuck and without external stimulation to focus upon. That goes double if you’ve lost your job and are struggling to find ways to keep yourself entertained, all while worrying how you’ll pay the bills.
On the other hand, it’s important that you give yourself some kind of structure. For some, attending virtual church services or praying to long-forgotten religious figures fills this void, while others have been increasingly turning to gardening to forge a sense of connection with the earth. Still others are protesting for social change in the Black Lives Matter protests. Giving yourself a task to do, a hobby to try or a community to join can take the focus off the never-ending anxiety loop of your thoughts.
Looking at a crisis as an opportunity for growth might make you raise your eyebrows—and we’re the first to admit that accepting and processing your grief, anger, loneliness and other negative emotions is vital. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t some good to be found in this crisis, whether it serves as the catalyst for an unintended career change, spending more time with your family or getting back to a hobby.
Ask yourself what you can learn from these massive and often unwelcome changes—are you dreading the day we go back to working in offices? Maybe it’s time to lobby for permanent change at your workplace, or find a job that encourages remote work. Did the toilet paper crisis help you find out that you’re great at disaster prep? Are you finding previously unknown reserves of patience and empathy for your children? Did you learn that your dream wedding is the one where you get married to your partner, and all the bells and whistles are less important? All of these lessons can be carried forward when the pandemic passes—and it will, even if it seems like there’s no end in sight.
Finally, helping others is a surefire way to take the focus off your own plans—and because it’s 2020, there’s no shortage of people who could use your kindness. From checking in on a neighbor to fighting for social justice, spirituality encourages us to look at the bigger picture and make positive changes where we can.
Crises and change will always be present in our lives, but building your spiritual life—whatever that looks like for you, personally—can help you weather the storm.