Dr. Charles Chamblee, Director of Baptist Health’s Outpatient Behavioral Services
If you are like most people, these have been some of the most trying days in our lives. Most of us have a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty. We are concerned about family and friends, and the impact of this virus in our lives and in the lives of those who we love. There are resources that are available to you and, in the midst of these difficult times, to ensure that we care for ourselves.
The Bible gives us a very direct statement about how to deal with this anxiety.
Philippians 4 beginning in verse 6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer, with thanksgiving, present the requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Another version says it this way, “Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything, and do not forget to thank God for his answers.”
This verse reminds us to bring every concern to the Lord, and thank Him for his response, even if we do not fully understand what is happening around us. The verse goes on to say, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. And the God of peace will be with you.”
The key to not being anxious is to have our minds focused on the right things. If we are always focused on the things that we do not have answers to, the things that we can’t control, we will constantly be anxious. However, if we can focus our mind on the things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, then our anxiety begins to find relief. This is not a recommendation to simply ignore the current circumstances, but to do our very best and to allow our mind to rest by knowing that God will do no less than to allow those who trust in Him to find success.
There are also some key signs to be watchful for to ensure our health.
- If you find yourself sleeping too much or having difficulty sleeping, this is a sign of increased stress or anxiety.
- If you find yourself becoming short with family or co-workers, this is your body telling you that you need to take time to focus on your own care.
- If you notice a change to your eating habits, this is a sign that you would benefit from taking time to rest.
- Finally, if you find that you are losing your ability to concentrate or focus, this is a major sign that you need to step-back and focus on your own care.
If you have ever flown before, you may remember the safety demonstration by the flight crew. If there is a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the compartment above your head. Place your own mask on before you assist anyone else! In order to be the best for others, we must first take care of ourselves. While you may not be able to do that in large blocks of time due to all the responsibilities that we all have during this critical time, it is important for you to find ways to take small moments to sustain yourself until larger amounts of time become available. Quite simply put, there is only one of you and you are too important!
If you find that you still feel anxious and overwhelmed, our licensed professional counselors are available to help.
All of our counselors hold specialty licensure to provide services via tele-health. You don’t even have to leave your home to meet with one of our providers. If you need assistance and would like to schedule a time to meet with a counselor, reach out to our staff at (501) 487-6010. You do not have to face these challenges alone!
The leadership of Baptist Health is committed to bringing the very best care to Arkansans. Our doctors, nurses, and amazing caregivers are working tirelessly to care for all our patients while taking extra precautions to care for those affected by COVID-19 and guarding the safety of those who are not. We are in regular communication with state and national leaders to get the most up-to-date information to more quickly identify and treat those affected by the virus.
These are certainly uncertain and unprecedented times, but we at Baptist Health are committed to standing by you until we see this crisis resolved! If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to Baptist Health. Concerned residents can call 1-888-BAPTIST with your COVID-19 questions and talk to a Registered Nurse anytime, anywhere in the state.
May God bless you and keep us all safe.