We interrupt this pandemic to bring you … by Rev. Heather McCarrel

photo by Garrett Sears/Unsplash

We interrupt this pandemic to bring you reasons to smile!

As we roll into the second week of this provincial lockdown we do so knowing there is at least one more month to go.  With this knowledge it is important we take time to create a pandemic plan.

To create a daily plan on how to live out this pandemic we are deliberately de-escalating boredom, frustration and anxiety while increasing our chances to smile more.


If left to run amuck, stress and anxiety can ruin any chances of a happy life, as author Natalie Goldberg writes, “Stress is an ignorant state.  It believes that everything is an emergency.”

So, instead of living in a personal “State of Emergency”, it is advisable we map out our days in such a way they guide us to the destination of a contented and happy life.

The first rule of thumb was made widely popular by Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People but actually originated from the ancient Stoic Epictetus who reminds us, “There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” In other words, if it isn’t something you have control over, let it go!  For example, we cannot control the weather, how others respond to COVID restrictions and whether the COVID case count rises in other communities….so let these worries go!

Other suggestions are to set a routine for each day, including getting up at the same time, making your bed and being dressed by breakfast.  Get outside and exercise daily, even if it means just stretching on the spot or walking laps at home. The task of getting bundled up for a step outside to breathe in the fresh air, enjoy having no walls around you and to look skyward is powerful for our well-being.  If possible, go for walks, runs or strap on those cross countries skies or snowshoes and combine your exercise with the outdoors. This is the best medicine during these lockdown days.

As people of faith we need to purposely build spiritual practices such as seeking beauty every day, for wherever there is beauty God can be found. Also, set aside time for daily prayer or meditation and a time for reading scriptures.  If you are not sure where to start in the scriptures I suggest you start in the New Testament and if you want to rise to the challenge of reading the Bible in year it can be accomplished by reading 3 chapters every weekday and 5 chapters on Sunday. And, of course plan on joining Port Elgin United Church Sunday mornings for our online worship services!

When creating your pandemic plan make time each day to connect with others.  This connection may be time spent in telephone conversations, letter writing, emailing or some use of social media.  These days of social distancing have proven how very important it is that we stay connected.

And lastly, end the day by counting your blessings, as it is written in Psalm 118:1, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endure forever.”  It is this love which surrounds you daily and will never let you go.

Rev. Heather McCarrel
Port Elgin United Church