I’d like to talk to all of you about mental health today.  We are living through an unprecedented time that has required us to isolate ourselves from the greater community.  Because of this, our brains and bodies are also trying to adjust to a completely new way of life and mentally we are grieving the life that we once knew.  Intellectually we know that this is a time that will pass; our bodies, in many cases, haven’t gotten that message.

Have you been feeling exhausted all the time and you don’t know why?  Feeling mentally sluggish and a bit disconnected from the world?  Do you find yourself getting irrationally irritated at little things or things that really shouldn’t bother you?  You are experiencing these things because your mind and body is under stress.  In addition, you may find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, you may feel weepy for no particular reason, along with a wide variety of symptoms that simply leave you feeling off of your game or just plain weird.  Since the beginning of quarantine, I’ve been struggling with feeling fuzzy-headed and fatigued and occasionally I just want to lash out at someone.  I’d be willing to bet that most of you are experiencing something similar.  I want you all to know that what you are feeling is a normal reaction to overwhelming stress and grief.

There are ways to deal with the stress of social isolation.  Most importantly, if you feel that you are losing hope, are feeling like you might relapse, or are contemplating hurting yourself, please seek out the help of a mental health professional.  The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and operates a 24-hour helpline for people dealing with mental health issues. SAMHSA specialists can provide you with resources and the names of mental health professionals in your area. Their 24-hour hotline can be reached by dialing 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

If you’re simply having trouble getting by day to day, there are a wide variety of things that you can do to engage your mind to help mitigate the feeling of stress.  First, be sure to continue to reach out to family and friends.  Continue the goal of talking to at least 7 people from our church family a week and pay special attention to those who are single or living on their own.  Second, keep your mind active.  This is a great time to learn to cook your favorite meal, to take up or do a deep dive into a hobby, or to take a class online. Keep your body active by taking a daily walk, dancing to your favorite music, or following one of the many free online fitness classes that are available.  Set up a routine that includes getting dressed, doing your hair, eating well, drinking plenty of water, and getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night – and stick to it.  Consider taking a break from the news.  I stopped watching the news on television over ten years ago and am still very up to date on the important things that are happening in the world; my stress level, however, went down considerably.  I assure you that if it’s important and you need to know it, you’ll learn it from your friends or on social media. 

Finally, carve out time every day to read your bible, pray, and spend some quiet time with God.  Cast your burdens on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken (Psalm 55:22).  God has this incomprehensible way of getting us through the most overwhelming situation, as Romans 8:28 says, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him. 

Until I see you again,

Erin Wallace

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Email Pastor Conrad:

If you haven’t already, could you give me all the names of Vineyard people whom you’ve been contacting (i.e. touching base at least 2 times since our church has gone online)? I want to make sure our people are being cared for. Also, let us know if you need one of our pastors or leaders to contact you during this season. Email Conrad at conradesh@vineyardmarysville.org.

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Join Deral & Leslee Carson tonight:

It’s not too late to join Deral and Leslee for the rest of the 5-week series called Vertical MarriageVertical Marriage began Friday, April 17th; everyone married or getting married is invited. The event is FREE and we highly recommend it to you. You may purchase workbooks through FamilyLife for $14.99, but they are not required.

Here’s what to do:

1. Go to: www.familylife.com/register and sign up for the course. Once registration is complete, you can select Vertical Marriage.

2. You will see a link in the text on the page to order the workbooks if you desire.

3. Watch Session 1 NOW.

4. Let Leslee know you are in by texting 614-562-0852 or email her leslee.carson15@gmail.com

5. Tune in on Friday with Deral and Leslee at the GoToMeeting location below:

How to participate tonight (Vertical Marriage, Session 1):

Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

https://www.gotomeet.me/DeralCarson/vertical-marriage-session-1-discussion

You can also dial in using your phone.

United States: +1 (872) 240-3212

Access Code: 886-191-517

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:

https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/886191517

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Tentative Upcoming Events:

Men’s & Women’s Retreats – POSTPONED: As you probably have guessed, both the women’s one day retreat and the men’s weekend retreat at Kirkmont Center have been postponed. Let’s keep praying for each other during this time, and reaching out to each other as God leads!

Beauty & the Beast Dinner – POSTPONED:  The Beauty and the Beast Dinner has also been postponed. These things will happen in the future, rest assured! Can’t wait!