Covid in Winter 2023

Covid in Winter 2023

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The Covid-19 pandemic changed the reality of living in March of 2020. The world went into lockdown. We thought it would be under control by spring, then summer, fall and winter brought another surge again and again. Here we are in January 2023, tired of Covid testing, vaccines, masking; we wish the pandemic was OVER! Many are fearful about being with others, do we mask or not, will there be a crowd, what if I get sick, will I make my loved elder sick? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves and others daily.

In addition to the lingering pandemic questions, we are in the season of cold dark days and rainy or snowy weather. This is the time when depression increases, especially for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This disorder begins in the late fall and continues until the spring sunshine returns.

If you experience SAD, you may feel down, tired, sluggish, have changes in your appetite, and want to sleep more than your normal. While we all feel this way sometimes, if these symptoms continue for more than two weeks and affect your daily living it is time to consult with your healthcare provider. The lingering Covid-19 pandemic combined with SAD may make the symptoms worse.

Mental Health America reports the pandemic has tripled the rates of depression and anxiety. Pandemic stress and/or SAD may leave you feeling isolated. Getting outside for a short time each day can help, especially when the sun is shining. Connecting with others is important too. Gathering with a small group and following current Covid guidelines for your area can be done safely. Using mindfulness techniques help to reduce depression and anxiety too. Staying in the moment reduces the times when our thoughts might focus on negative times in the past or worry about the future.

Our faith calls us to love our neighbor as ourselves and to care for those who are vulnerable. In our worship gatherings we are advised to consider wearing a mask, especially in medium or high transmission communities. Check the CDC guidance for medium and high Covid-19 Community Levels and if you are at high risk of getting very sick, or have close contact with someone at high risk, wear a high-quality mask when indoors in public. Make sure you stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations. Get the latest bivalent booster if you have not already.

The pandemic and gray days may cause us to feel down. We can remain hopeful that brighter days are coming, and that God is with us through all our struggles. The pandemic is not over; however, we can see light at the end of the tunnel. Let us continue to hold onto our faith and hope.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:35, 37)

 

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Karen Methot

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Debbie Ringen

Debbie Ringen supports the Conference vision to make God’s love and justice real through wellness ministry at the Conference and local church level. In addition to providing resources, educational workshops, blogs and networking opportunities, she is...

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