You will make it through November 2020.

How are you feeling? Today is an important day — Election Day for readers in the US. Whether you’re feeling tense about the outcome of the election or generally overwhelmed by pandemic life, we’d like to share some tools that may encourage you on a rough day.

Our team has gathered together a grab-bag of tips, ideas, and resources that help all of us remain as centered as possible. You may see offerings from Andrea, Ann, Caroline, Jasmine, Karen, and Kaya. We hope these strategies will help remind you that God does not change and that we can rest in him. May you know God’s lovingkindness in the midst of these challenging times.

Actions to take

  • Breath prayer. “I’ve been practicing a lot of breath prayers throughout my day — they’re short, responsive, and help me to immediately bring my overwhelmed feelings to God.”
  • Pray for peace. Join others in praying for the polls on Nov 2-3.
  • A prayer for those who are overwhelmed. If there is an overflow in your mind, you might like to pray this “Liturgy for Those Flooded by Too Much Information.”
  • Take a walk. Walking outside helps recenter our perspective. Breathing fresh cold air, moving our bodies, looking into the distance — all of these things help to complete the stress response cycle.
  • The sign of the cross. “When I’m at the end of my rope, I often make the sign of the cross as I think about whatever is worrying me. I grew up Catholic, and although I don’t worship at a Catholic church anymore, this practical, physical prayer helps me to connect my concerns with God’s mercy.”
  • Mindfully embodied practices. “Dancing or walking while listening to worship music or meditating on Scripture is a wonderful way to reorient my body and soul.”
  • Doing something for someone else. “I like to bring my mom coffee at work or bake for the people I live with. I find comfort in reading the newsletters and prayer guides I receive from ministries I support.”
  • Begin a Gratitude Journal. List five things you are grateful for — ten if it has been a particularly difficult day. Or color your gratitude.
  • Have a snack. A cup of coffee or hot tea + a piece of dark chocolate is a little oasis of encouragement on a hard day.
  • Breathe. A few deep breaths when stressed or afraid will reconnect the parts of your brain, helping you to react intentionally rather than from a place of raw and unfiltered emotion.

Words for listening

  • Words of Hope from Carrie Bare. Listen to spiritual director Carrie Bare and the messages of hope she offers as we struggle through the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Words of Hope: Coping with Anxiety. Podcast host and counselor Caroline Triscik offers several grounding exercises to cope with overwhelming feelings of anxiety.
  • Words of Hope: Thoughts from Our Team. Short podcasts from the Women in the Academy and Professions team with words of encouragement recorded at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Pray As You Go. “I listen to the 10-12 minute daily prayers on this app every morning while I’m drinking my coffee. The combination of Scripture, thoughtful questions, and music helps to center me before the onslaught of the day.”
  • Resourcing and Calm Place Exercises. These videos by counselor Aundi Kolber offer techniques for grounding our mental health. You can also learn more about Aundi from our interview with her.

Music for listening

  • Psalm 23: “Surely Goodness, Surely Mercy” by Shane & Shane. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
  • Calm me Lord” by Margaret Rizza. “Calm me, Lord, as you calm the storm...”
  • Nothing to Fear” by Audrey Assad. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you...”
  • Breathe on Me, Breath of God” performed by Page CXVI. “...Fill me with this life anew….”
  • O God, will you restore us?” by Bifrost Arts Music. “...and grant us your salvation?”
  • Do It Again/Alpha and Omega” by Indiana & Illinois Revive Virtual Choir. “Your promise still stands — great is your faithfulness…”
  • Lord You’re Mighty” by Youthful Praise. “O Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!”
  • Take Heart” by Mission House (featuring Taylor Leonhardt and Jess Ray)
  • In Christ Alone” performed by Johns Hopkins University Gospel Choir. “He is my light, my strength, my song…”
  • The Kingdom is Yours” by Common Hymnal. “Hope is in the Lord, keep your eyes on him….”
  • Goodness of God” by Jenn Johnson. “I love you, Lord, your mercy never fails me…”
  • Yes I Will” by Vertical Worship. “You’re working all things out…”

Reader Lydia created an Apple Music list with most of these songs. Thanks, Lydia!

Scriptures for reading

  • Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd…”
  • Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble....”
  • Psalms 57-60 — “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge.” — These are not words of comfort or peace, necessarily, but words calling for justice, recognizing evil and bringing our anger to God.
  • Isaiah 40: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”
  • Isaiah 46.4: “I am he who will sustain you."
  • Isaiah 57.15: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit….”
  • 2 Corinthians 4: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”
  • Galatians 6.9: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
  • Hebrews 6.18-20: “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Words and images

Books to further your journey

Just a note: the intent of this list is to help those of us who are feeling spiritually untethered in the midst of all that is going on in our world, not a substitute for mental health care. 

Photo by Bonnie Moreland from StockSnap.

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