March 20, 2020

4 Encouraging Actions | Coronavirus Pandemic

I’m Stephanie, a wedding + lifestyle photographer based in Destin, Florida and Warrenton, Virginia. Whether I’m by the mountains in Virginia or the ocean on the Florida Gulf Coast, my soul feels at home, surrounded by rural living and the raw beauty of nature. I genuinely love what I do, and feel so passionate to share the enthusiasm and joy of these celebrations with you!

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Beach Sunset | 4 Encouraging Actions | Coronavirus Pandemic

I feel like the world is living in a weird dream right now … Feelings of confusion and numbness. As the government continues to close down businesses, schools, beaches, parks, cities, and in some cases, the entire state, we have to wonder when will this nightmare end? Or how will we navigate through this? I believe there are 4 encouraging actions we can do to navigate through this Coronavirus pandemic.

When I heard that our local Florida beaches were closing down until April 30th, my immediate reaction was admittedly a selfish one. On the flip side, though, Destin, Florida is a spring break destination, and our hospitals are already running out of supplies. If non-locals are traveling to our community to spread or even pick up the Coronavirus, then this nightmare will only prolong. This is our new reality, and if we don’t take action together then we won’t see progress, and Florida (as well as other U.S. states) could be hit HARD in the retirement communities.

** For those who aren’t taking this seriously, I will admit that I was in your shoes just a week ago. I mean, everything seemed so normal when the rest of the world was shutting down. So why should I lock myself up? But let me tell you from being a doctor’s wife… We need to take this seriously. Just this past week, the local hospitals are starting to buckle down because the COVID-19 is creeping to our area. It’s hard to read some articles online and wonder if it’s true or not, but when I hear a little fear from my husband, then I know it’s serious business. Every day is a different story, but don’t disregard the fact that this can wipe out a part of the U.S. population. I think about my family and pray that this doesn’t come close to them as well as other families. Who knows how this virus will take shape over the weeks to come… The sooner we can get past this, the sooner our lives will be back to normal!

Here are 4 encouraging actions we can all do to navigate through the Coronavirus pandemic.

Grasp Faith + Cling to Hope

No matter your faith background, we come from something bigger than ourselves. For me, that is my faith in God’s plan for us! Especially in times like this, we need to lean into Him! When we do so, there is HOPE. Even though churches are not gathering, I’m grateful for technology. Podcasts and live streaming is making it possible for church communities to hear God’s word. And boy, do we all need to hear it!!!

I cannot think of a better time to cling to hope and God’s plan for us than now. There is so much goodness in the Bible, and it’s alive, especially in this weary world! Instead of letting fear drive your thoughts throughout your day, replace it with HOPE! As I type this message, I had the urge to turn on Phil Wickham’s “Living Hope.” If you aren’t familiar with this song, listen to the words. It gives me chills every time! As Easter approaches, I wonder what this year will look like. We may not understand what this world is going through, but one thing is for sure, God is my living hope! 

To make this applicable, I see this as a beautiful opportunity to sit down with a journal and write out your thoughts and feelings along with a Bible/daily devotional. Also, take a minute and write out a list of things you’re grateful for and change your heart to be filled with gratitude instead of despair. You will be surprised to open up that journal in the future to find positivity during a troubling time in history! 🙂

Here are some good reads to start!!
Psalm 91 — THE PROTECTION OF THE MOST HIGH
Psalm 118 — THANKSGIVING FOR VICTORY
Psalm 27 — MY STONGHOLD
Matthew 6:25-34 — THE CURE FOR ANXIETY

Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Build Your Mental/Physical Strength

Strength is essential — It’s time to take care of ourselves. I’m preaching this to myself as well. 🙂 During times like this, when we are unsure of what is going on, we need to pay attention to our personal wellness, mentally and physically. I know there are different sides of the spectrum right now. Some people fear to step one foot out of their door and others who are neglecting to be told what to do. But this is our new reality for the next couple of months and hopefully no longer!

Smile

Gosh, I’m sure this is a hard one, but I was reading yesterday how important it is to SMILE! “Everybody in this world is seeking happiness — and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.” (How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie) Yes, this can be a challenge during this rare time in history, but we need to cling onto hope and continue to smile. I love seeing people come together to spread cheer and joy. Find that in your life because the news can be toxic if you let it fuel you in the wrong way. Join virtual groups that are uplifting like THIS Facebook group!!! 🙂 We can see this time as an opportunity to make a difference in the local community and even the world. Take charge and spread joy!

Drink water!!!

In times like this, I’m sure alcohol seems reasonable to relax and forget the reality of it all. For those who might be working from home or not working at all, this can be a tempting time! But it’s so important to nourish our bodies with water. We are suiting up for battle, and water will help flush toxins out of our body and keep us healthy!

Fresh Food + Vitamin D

Speaking of being healthy, we cannot forget to eat wholesome food as well! I’m sure I’ll indulge in some homemade ice cream or cookies, but to be our strongest selves, we need to eat fresh fruits and veggies on a daily basis. If we don’t feed our bodies with food that will empower us mentally and physically, imagine what an entire month of that can do to us …

And when the government urges us to stay at home, that doesn’t mean to lock yourself indoors for a month! Haha! Vitamin D is SO important. I’m no Doctor, but make sure you’re either taking supplements, taking daily walks outside, and/or sitting in front of a happy light! It will make a big difference as we don’t want the entire country to suffer from cabin fever and go stir crazy!

Move Your Body

And speaking of being physical, this is very important! MOVE YOUR BODY! I’m already getting antsy about this one because my daily routine involved HIIT workouts at the gym. Under these circumstances, the gym is no longer holding classes until further notice, so I’m already wondering how I can find the motivation to work out by myself? FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER!!! Whether that is a friend, a family member, or your spouse, find someone who you can encourage and have that reciprocated back. 

I’m finding ways to move like daily walks with Ollie around the neighborhood or running around the park with a friend (while keeping social distancing in mind). Set your clock for 30-minutes and find a way to move your body to get the blood flowing. Whether that is a walk, jog, run around the neighborhood, or a strength/cardio workout from your phone (there are free work out apps promoting right now!). I also find it helpful to do this in the morning because it helps with focus. I’ll have to write about my daily routine on the blog soon … Maybe after things are back to normal. 😉 

Talk

There’s a lot of fear and anxiety for a lot of people right now. The news keeps crashing down one negative thought after another. This is when you need to take a stand and push out those negative thoughts! How? Well, fortunately, there are a lot of resources right now during this season so people can talk virtually to a counselor over the phone or online! I just heard about Better Help on a Podcast yesterday that I thought would be beneficial to share with you all. Otherwise, find a trusting friend you can talk to so you can let out all of your fears and tribulations. A simple talk can help release the tension happening inside of your heart!

Volunteer to Your Community

Some of us have a little more time on our hands, and I see it as a way to help the community! Because the COVID-19 has hit the older generation hard, let’s take care of them. Reach out to your elderly neighbors and see if they need anything from the grocery store since they are advised not to leave their homes. Or take care of the kids who looked forward to their school lunches and may not have that back at home … While you’re out, be mindful of washing your hands and not touching your face. 

A wonderful service called “Shopping Angels” is a great way to help your local community! They connect you with people you cannot leave their homes so you can pick up groceries for them and deliver to their homes. I just joined it today, and you can join too HERE! If you want to check out what they are all about, you can check out their Facebook page HERE! Thanks to 10 in a Circle for sharing this lifegiving tool to help the neighbors!!

Let’s Work Together and Conquer the Coronavirus Pandemic

Maybe there is something greater to come after this is done. Or families will connect on a stronger foundation. Or maybe even some jobs will not take their customers for granted. We are all living history, and it will be interesting to see what comes out on the other side of what is important in our lives vs what’s not important anymore…

If we all do this together, then we can be stronger than ever! Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would personally affect my business, but I see it across the board for everyone. It’s a struggle witnessing industry friends all deal with the same frustrations. Even more reason why everyone needs to come together and take these four actions (to grasp faithcling to hopebuild your mental/physical strength, and volunteer to your community) to heart. <3

Let me know if there are other encouraging things you’re doing during this season to add to this list! 🙂

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