The coronavirus pandemic has given us new rules, regulations, procedures, guidelines, protocols and ground rules. Some of those have been confusing at times, but we can learn from the experts if we listen carefully, extrapolate as necessary and implement.
Here are some takeaways to carry forward and practice in our new future.
Quarantine. It can be a good thing.
The experts say: Quarantine, and don’t get out of your home unless absolutely necessary, especially if you show symptoms of COVID-19.
Most people get nervous in solitude, especially if it lasts a long period of time. But successful people always find time to reflect and contemplate. Michael W. Smith says: “Some of the most powerful times are when we’re quiet.”
Even Jesus retreated to quiet seclusion, as He “would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” (Luke 5:16). Whether it’s a forced season alone or a personally designated time, quiet time or time away can be a game-changer if used well.
Key takeaway. From this time of quarantine forward, carve out time for some seclusion and reflection. Whether you read a daily devotion or good book, watch the sunrise, talk with God or read your Bible, make it an essential part of your morning. Schedule it for the same time, the same place every morning. It’ll make your day.
Protect yourself and others.
The experts say: Wear a mask, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, cover your mouth when you cough and avoid contact with those infected with the virus.
- Covering your mouth is probably good advice for all of us, especially since we can easily be “snared by the words of your mouth” (Proverbs 6:2).
- Washing our hands of certain situations — and even people — is also probably good advice. It can save you frustration, time and unnecessary distraction and drama.
- And, of course, avoiding contact with people who are infected with negative or poor attitudes or other conditions that aren’t positive and encouraging.
There’s no need to be ugly or rude, but your four walls are very important. Protect you and your family at all costs. Physically, mentally, emotionally.
Key takeaway. From your words to relationships and unsavory activities, be diligent to maintain good practices that keep you safe and out of trouble.
Be selective about who you are around.
The experts say: Maintain social distancing.
You don’t need stats or polls to know that the lives of many people have improved by changing the people they hang with. Remember, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Perhaps it’s time to continue or implement the social distancing guidelines after the pandemic.
“Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33.
Jesus had 12 disciples, and they were his friends, and one of those was a terrible influence (Judas). But he had three he counted on: Peter, James and John. For the most part, he took them everywhere. Who are your three?
Key takeaway. Evaluate your inner circle of influencers, the people you see or hang with most. If it works in a pandemic, it’ll work for you in real life!
The experts say: Monitor symptoms like temperature and oxygen levels and watch for chest discomfort and coughs.
That’s actually good advice. 2 Corinthians 13:5 tells us: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves.” We should often do a check-up from the neck up regarding attitude, direction in life and relationships.
You can’t take someone to a place you haven’t been, so be introspective and ensure you are always on solid ground and in a healthy state, body, soul and spirit.
Key takeaway. Stay healthy in your mind and spirit. When you are in good health, you can better help others who need you.
Wash, clean and disinfect your surroundings.
The experts say: Ensure that things you come into contact with regularly — countertops, desks, computers, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones etc. — are cleaned regularly.
Same for your daily life. Do away with those things that can infect your mind and heart. Clean up your television watching, computer surfing, social media interaction and the things that constantly distract you. In other words, “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangled.” (Hebrews 12:1).
Key takeaway. You can clean up your surroundings by turning off the TV and setting boundaries on social media (i.e. Facebook, Messenger, Twitter) or pointless conversations that lead nowhere. Be intentional and honest with yourself when you set these boundaries.
Underlying conditions can be dangerous.
The experts say: Reduce the effects of underlying conditions where you can and seek immediate help if symptoms arise. Quit smoking and optimize medical therapy.
Everyone has a weak spot, that area that makes us more susceptible than others. When tough times arise, we tend to revert to what we know, go where we are comfortable and feel safe. Often times, those areas are not safe at all, but allow us to continue to enable ourselves in familiar surroundings (read: Allows us to get away with the same old stuff because the people around us let us or don’t care).
Whatever your underlying condition (e.g. gossip, alcohol, fear, pornography, hopelessness, drugs, entitlement or something else) you can reduce the effects by acknowledging the weak spot and working on getting through it. Don’t have an accountability partner? Ask a friend or someone you trust to help you evaluate your situation. Then, act! If you need help, seek a pastor or counselor to help you overcome it.
Key takeaway. Become aware of your weak spot and realize it makes you vulnerable, especially in certain situations. Your weakness will be different from others, so don’t compare yourself with other friends or family. Get help with it as though your life depends on it.
We can learn from the experts and, as you can see, the takeaways are transferrable to our daily lives. Every crisis brings us new practices and changes. Carry these forward to help make your life — and the lives of those around you — better.