HELP DURING THE HARD TIMES by Rector Chris Girata
HELP DURING THE HARD TIMES was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, April 24, 2020
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
Allow me to begin by saying I am not a mental health professional. I’m a preacher, and although that means I’m compassionate, that does not mean I have any training in counseling. This article is about general mental health that is applicable to everyone. If you have a true, debilitating mental health need, please see a professional to get the support you deserve.
Mental health is an important topic now more than ever.
Mental health is an important topic now more than ever. There is no doubt that we are in a difficult period of our history. Our lives have been changed in countless ways and perhaps some of those changes will be permanent. It’s all enough to get you down if you’re not careful, so I hope to use this column to help us all shift our perspectives and stay mentally healthy.
Whether you’re isolated at home from your extended family and friends, having to juggle teaching your children while working from home or perhaps just feeling the loss of your routine, know that you’re not alone. In a truly global way, we have all shifted our lives. Most people don’t like change and there has been a lot of change over the past few weeks. When change comes fast, and when change does not feel positive, we can feel the weight of that change in profound ways.
I’ve spoken with people who aren’t sleeping well, who aren’t eating well and who are feeling down. Depression is a serious issue that needs professional support, but many of us can feel depressed at any time. By some estimates, in the last six weeks, depressed feelings have more than doubled in the U.S. adult population and more than tripled in children and teens. This is a shocking turn and one that should not be ignored.
By some estimates, in the last six weeks, depressed feelings have more than doubled in the U.S. adult population and more than tripled in children and teens.
We cannot help how we feel, but we can impact the way we feel. I find that feeling down or depressed (not clinical depression) is often a function of perspective. When we have reason to focus on ourselves too much, especially during these recent weeks, we can begin to fixate on the negatives and miss the positives. One of the positives I have witnessed is a spirit of generosity I hadn’t seen before.
Generosity is not a sure bet to fix all ills, but a spirit of generosity can get us moving in the right direction. When we feel like the pressure and weight of the world is coming down on us, I encourage you to consider what you can give to those around you. Sometimes the giving is simple, such as a smile or a phone call to check in on a friend or neighbor. Sometimes the giving can be more tangible, such as making a donation of food to a local community agency or making a financial gift to organizations helping those who are most vulnerable. However, you give, a generous spirit can help turn you toward healthier, more positive future.
Our current situation is not as good as it could be, but we won’t stay in this place forever. This, too, shall pass, and this temporary phase of our lives could help us become better. Be honest with yourself, be good to yourself and give what you can give to help those around you. When you become a helper, your perspective will shift and your mood will likely shift with it.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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