I had a very difficult time writing a piece this week. I haven't been in a good place this week. I'm a people person, and as I approach day 100 for this shelter in place, work from home, quarantine world I've found myself in it has started to take an emotional toll on me. Then more bad news. I found out late in the week, that this working from home could extend well into the fall or even winter where I work--that would mean I may not even be half way through it yet. The news hit me hard. I miss people.
I read a piece earlier in the week about the mental health costs of this crisis, and I'm beginning to understand that. People are meant to be together. People were created to share their lives with others, to be social, and to be part of a community. When that vanishes, it's a difficult adjustment for many of us to make.
But I have to look at this as an opportunity. Over the last hundred days, I've been in a holding pattern waiting for things to "get back to normal." That's probably the wrong way to view it. Instead, perhaps those of us that are in this boat should use the time to find productive ways to use the time.
That article I read said that these emotional issues and depression people are feeling from quarantine fatigue are exacerbated by several factors. People are drinking more--the liquor stores never closed in most places, and alcohol is a depressant. People are spending more time on social media, and their anxieties are being fueled by bad news about the pandemic, and the violence and riots, and the political fights surrounding the next election. And people are watching more television, and the news there isn't any better--feeding on our fears and anxieties about this uncharted territory in America we're going
through now. And all this anger, and violence, and vandalism . . . possibly the result of being shut in for months and being fed a constant diet of poison on our phones and on our televisions.
The media is not our friend.
I've decided to take a break from all of it. Focus on my work, on my family, and on my studies--let God take care of the rest of it. Over the next couple months, I'm turning it all off. I know the mess the country is in, so I don't need a daily reminder. I'm not undecided about the election--I know who I'm going to vote for, so I don't need to see the day-to-day fist fight on my television. I'll spend my down time reading in my Bible, and in books that inspire and motivate me. And I'm going to pray. A lot. For my family. For my friends. For my country. And for an end of these horrible divisions that our media and our politicians have fueled for decades.
This is not the way God intended for us to live our lives. This isn't the way God intends for us to treat each other. Take a step back. Take a deep breath. Take a long break. Ask God for his guidance.