ACCORDING TO THE Merriam-Webster dictionary online, a tipping point refers to “the critical point in a situation, process, or system beyond which a significant and often unstoppable effect or change takes place.”
We’ve all experienced tipping point experiences. They may appear like a sudden storm or creep along, alerting us with subtle signs pointing toward the inevitable. Many of these defining moments have a powerful, life-changing negative or positive effect on us. They can push us beyond our comfort zone as we attempt to adjust and make sense of change of-direction circumstances.
Some of life’s tipping points could include:
1. After working devotedly to improve your lifestyle, you are rewarded by seeing the scale move and your body become stronger and healthier.
2. At work you find your efforts being rewarded with success, appreciation, and promotion (or a raise in pay).
3. You are moving. It’s an opportunity for a change of job. Or you are retiring. This is a major lifechanging, joyous event full of potential.
1. Your doctor informs you that in spite of your good health habits, you are having some serious heart function issues that need further investigation.
2. A disturbing moment occurs when you learn your department at work is being closed down. You and your coworkers no longer have jobs.
3. You are moving. This change has potential opportunities, but you are absorbed with anxiety over leaving all that’s comfortable and familiar behind.
ENTER THE CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19)
This monstrous pandemic entered our lives at first disguised as a temporary disruption to normal routine. Schools and businesses were closed, and we stayed home as advised, with the disillusioned thinking that this was just a minor crisis of a few days, or weeks at the most. It was generally expected that everything would soon return to normal.
However, COVID-19 was—and still is—not done with us yet. Its presence is causing seemingly endless change and challenge, affecting us all emotionally, psychologically, socially, and economically in varying degrees through:
1. Frequent news commentaries reporting on the spread and deadly effects of the virus on states, cities, families, hospitals, and frontline workers.
2. New self-defense patterns of behavior, including mandates to stay home as much as possible, keep a prescribed distance from others, mask our faces, and avoid group gatherings such as worship services, weddings, funerals, birthday celebrations, seasonal community festivals, and holiday celebrations.
3. Disruptions and restrictions relating to international and homeland travel opportunities.
4. The prolonged forced closure of businesses and services, causing bankruptcies and widespread loss of financial income to thousands of business owners and families.
5. Hospitals becoming overloaded with high volumes of critically ill COVID-19 patients, and because of the risk of contamination no longer allowing patient visitor privileges. Routine hospital surgical and medical procedures are limited in availability.
6. Schools initially closed now faced with local and federal governmental debates and projections regarding future educational procedures and safety for students, teachers, and administration.
COPE, HOPE, AND HELP
The coronavirus pandemic presents a whole basketful of stresses and changes significantly affecting everyone worldwide. Fear, anxiety, loss of connection with others, loss of security, loss of freedom, even loss of family and friends through illness—all can have a huge impact on any of us, pushing us to despair and depression. However, we can choose ways to help ourselves cope with these enormous challenges.
We have the power to cope. Any change offers us the opportunity to strengthen coping skills and to reshape or refocus our future.
Coping techniques can include:
• Keep informed. Keep current with recommendations and advice from national and local authorities through trusted news sources, taking care to limit exposure to news that may increase our anxiety or distress.
• Have a routine.
- Get up and go to bed at regular times.
- Keep up with personal hygiene.
- Eat healthful meals at regular times.
- Exercise routinely.
- Keep connections with family and friends going strong.
- Maintain regular time for inspirational reading, worship, and prayer.
- Reserve time for fun and creative activity.
We have the power to hope. It was only a few months ago that our lives were fairly predictable, defined by work, family, recreation, and worship. No one foresaw how quickly we would experience complete disruption. Confined to our homes, unable to see friends and loved ones or enjoy activities that surrounded our lives, what we need now is a large dose of hope to sustain us through this difficult time.
• Hope in the tireless efforts of scientists and doctors to treat, heal, and produce vaccine protection.
• Hope in the eventual return of societies to a more peaceful existence based on evidence of global survival of pandemics in the past.
• Hope that we all will emerge having a deeper appreciation for faithful blessings ever provided by a loving heavenly Father.
• Hope in the sure promises of a heavenly home free of all that now is so troublesome.
We have the power to help. Are you thinking that since you are not a medical worker there is nothing you can do to help? Actually, each of us can make a positive difference in the face of COVID-19 by tapping into our individual talents and strengths and sharing them. Studies show that when we get actively involved in reaching out to others, our own mental and physical health improves. Helping directs our concentration away from ourselves and all that is frightening and confusing to contributing meaning to the lives of others. Start getting involved, and magically more opportunities will present themselves to you.
Need some starter suggestions?
• Phone a neighbor, friend, or family member just to check on how they are doing.
• Write and send thoughtful or funny messages to shut-in children or the elderly, or to encourage the sick and discouraged.
• Offer to help with or teach an online class to a homeschool child.
• Teach or help out with a craft or cooking class through the aid of electronic technology.
• If able, participate in volunteering at a food bank or with the distribution of clothing and other basic essentials at a community center.
• Make a donation to a charitable organization, helping them and boosting your sense of well-being.
• Tell our heavenly Father of your willingness and desire to be of service; then watch how He will answer that prayer!
Focusing on positive methods of coping with adversity—mentally, physically, and emotionally—will better equip us to endure, learn from, and survive challenges. Even during a chaotic pandemic, maintaining hope keeps us courageous with our focus on the future. And finally, our smallest acts of kindness and helpfulness can make a world of difference to others, and in the process enhance our own inner strength and spiritual growth.