Reach Out and Touch Someone
For this first month, our goal is to reconnect our church friends and members by reconnecting with each other. Should you choose to accept, your first challenges are:
*Call and have a chat with at least one church member or church friend a week you don’t see regularly due to covid or other circumstances. These would be folks outside your normal social circle, that you don’t normally call and talk with.
*Call or message at least one friend or family member per week you’ve lost
touch with, or haven’t spoken to for a while. You can use Facebook for this challenge.
*Start a small group of 6-8 people and meet at least once a month for a bible
study thru the end of the year. You can meet outside, or inside and social distance, or request masks be worn. Everyone should be comfortable with the circumstance.
If you’d like to hear an excellent message on the importance of small groups within the church, listen to Pastor Chad Stewart from Spencerville SDA church.
Giveaway: If you signed up for the 2021 challenge give-away’s, you will get a notebook. On a page in that notebook, write down the names and dates of the church members you called and the names and dates of the people you were able to connect with outside of the church family. At the end of March, you will turn in those pages, and for every person you have reached according to the challenge, your name will be entered into a drawing for a $20 gift card to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe in Cartersville.
(If you aren’t familiar with them, they have excellent healthy smoothies, as well as a nice lunch menu. We would suggest you share this with a friend, but it’s up to you.)
Keep reading to find out why Reaching Out and Touching Someone
is so important:
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
The Importance of Staying Connected During Social Distancing
“Over the last few months, COVID-19 has made unusual behaviors our new normal, and our old practices have faded into distant memory. While social distancing has slowed the spread of the virus, its full impacts on our mental health is just now coming to light.
Humans are naturally social creatures, and our lack of social interaction can have a significant impact on our mental and physical health. Here is what you need to know about the importance of staying connected during social distancing.
The Impacts of a Social Distancing
According to the American Psychological Association, social distancing and being isolated from friends and family can have the same health impacts as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. With many of us maintaining our distance, it’s not uncommon for loneliness to kick in and take its toll, especially since there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. Many people might start to lose their sense of purpose and feel a disconnect from friends and family.
Over the last several months, many people have experienced some, if not all, of the following effects of social distancing:
• Impaired decision making
• Poor sleep quality
• Poor cardiovascular function
• Impaired immunity
Depending on the physical health of individuals before isolation and social distancing, some might even have an increased risk of stroke, dementia, or coronary heart disease, making connections during social distancing that much more essential.
Social Interactions Keep Us Healthy and Productive
The old ways of interacting are long behind us. We’re no longer embracing each other in hugs as often, we’re standing six feet apart, and we’re dining at restaurants with limited capacity and at designated tables.
Still, staying connected while social distancing can help keep us healthy, reduce stress, and improve productivity. Research has shown that social interactions can help reduce the stress hormone and flood our systems with oxytocin. A surge of this “bonding hormone” can make us feel secure, supported, and connected with those we love. For those going back to work, reconnecting with friendly faces, work teams, and managers can inspire productivity and creativity and positively influence the feeling of belonging, even while keeping a distance. The simple act of going back to work and collaborating with our co-workers in person can have a dramatic effect on our social well-being, especially after being disconnected for so long.
Ways to Stay Connected While Social Distancing
Social distancing has forced everyone to get creative with social connections. Some communities and neighborhoods around the country are noticing a shift in how they interact with their neighbors. Many see a slowed way of life and are getting back to a simpler time when connection with neighbors and immediate family was a priority.
Additionally, technology continues to play a role in staying connected while social distancing. Many people are enjoying more virtual game nights, Zoom interviews and trainings, and meetings with co-workers. These small virtual interactions may not seem like much, but for those still in isolation, they can be extremely beneficial and allow people to satisfy their social needs.
Make Mental Health a Priority
Your mental health has a significant impact on your physical health, and vice versa. When an imbalance in our daily routines and social interactions is interrupted, health can deteriorate, which is why staying connected while social distancing is essential.”
Source: Jennifer Jenne, Brain Forest, Brain Enhancement and Training
This is an excerpt from Adventist World.org, January edition:
TIPS FOR MENTAL WELL-BEING
I recommend trying a variety of strategies to help maintain mental well-being through these challenging times.
Eat well. Make sure to eat a balanced diet. Avoid the temptation to keep unhealthy comfort foods in the house. Fruits and vegetables are especially important, particularly those with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. Elizabeth Bilodeau, a registered dietitian for Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center, recommends citrus fruits, spinach, red bell pepper, and kiwi to reinforce immunity.
Get enough rest. Try to go to bed at the same time and try to make that bedtime earlier. Waking up at a regular time also is important. Routine is important even though it’s disrupted.
Trust. Worrying about COVID-19 does not mean spiritual weakness. Trusting in God and His power to save, heal, and comfort is important to remember; it is the believer’s unique coping tool. Actively focus on God’s power instead of the pain and suffering from COVID-19. With time, while the suffering may still be there, so will God’s ever-present peace. Remember those who have endured tribulation in the Bible and learn from how they weathered challenges with God by their side.
Exercise. At least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week helps stay physically healthy and boosts mental health. In winter, aim to get activity minutes in natural sunlight and pay close attention to changes in mood or energy levels. Seek help if you have symptoms such as irritability or uncontrollable oversleeping that lasts two weeks or longer.
Limit media intake. Overexposure to news stories or sifting through mixed messages on social media can trigger traumatic stress symptoms. Read or watch just enough news to stay informed, then move on to something enjoyable.
Stay connected with people. Even though we are physically distant, we need social connections now more than ever. Technology can be a great tool to keep in touch with friends and family. Check in with loved ones several times a week to keep lines of communication open. In this time of isolation, it can be hard to connect, but it’s important to talk to friends and family members about how you feel. They may feel the same and you can work through it together.
Create a self-care kit. Having a list of activities or items that bring joy can make all the difference in helping to cope as we progress through this crisis. Do whatever brings hope and inspiration.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t feel as though you must tackle home renovations, be the best homeschool teacher, learn a new language, or any of the other things you may see on social media. Do the best you can. Focus on keeping you and your family healthy.
Seek help. If you need to talk to someone, many health-care professionals offer telehealth and online counseling services. If you don’t know where to start, ask your primary-care doctor for help.
As we process this experience that is COVID-19, know that we are not going through this alone. We will heal from this together.
Author: Marissa Leslie
I pray that God will Bless us as we reach out and re-connect with others, that He will bring to mind those that especially need us, and that our words will bring “sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”
Ronda Churchwell, Health Ministries