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Bethel’s Wellbeing Resources: How to Cope with a Global Pandemic

As we all try to adjust to impromptu life changes and new routines, Bethel has some resources meant to foster a virtual community, encourage you spiritually, and care for your body, soul, and mind during this season of uncertainty.

By Katie Johnson ’19, content specialist

April 02, 2020 | 1 p.m.

"Each of us has the opportunity to use our agency and intentionally invest in our individual, interpersonal and systemic wellbeing which can foster renewal in this world,” says Christine Osgood, director of wellbeing initiatives.

"Each of us has the opportunity to use our agency and intentionally invest in our individual, interpersonal and systemic wellbeing which can foster renewal in this world,” says Christine Osgood, director of wellbeing initiatives.

It’s no secret that none of us has faced a global pandemic before. In the midst of nationwide presidential updates, scientific graphs, and shelter-in-place orders, anxiety can roar loud while peace is quickly overwhelmed by an onslaught of scary information.

Not to mention, our houses have never felt smaller, the sunshine has never glimmered so brightly, and virtual connection has never been so important. During this season, we don’t claim to have a lot of answers, but we do have some resources meant to encourage you and help you adapt to the sudden lifestyle shifts so beyond our control.

We hope something resonates, and please, trust that you are not in this alone.

"I am clinging to God's promises, which were almost always given in the bleakest of circumstances. Today, I read from John 16:22 (Jesus' words) ‘So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.’ This speaks both to the reality of pain and the promise of joy. This gives me hope."

— Liz Miller, Director of Health Services

Community Resources

Many who love Bethel especially appreciate the Bethel community, which looks different as we connect virtually across a multitude of time zones and channels. Knowing that we will miss one another, we've updated the MyBethel page to include a community resources section, and along with that, we've started providing something we call Monday Meetup. Every Monday morning at 9 a.m. CT, there will be an opportunty to connect with some familiar faces as they speak to the Bethel community live from the comfort of their own homes. Last Monday, President Jay Barnes and President-elect Ross Allen both shared their concerns and delights about this present season. 

Christian Formation and Church Relations (CFCR) Resources

Campus Pastor Laurel Bunker and the CFCR team have been busy creating content to foster community, offer hope, and continue Chapel services online. You can either listen or watch a number of different series, depending on what you are looking for. “Bethel Today” consists of daily conversations—10 minutes or less—with different faculty and staff members in the community. The most recent includes a conversation with President Jay Barnes, and several others include Sara Shady, professor of philosophy, and Ann Vu Ngo, associate dean of Career Development and Calling. Bunker hosts a weekly devotional series called “Hope and Healing” on Mondays while Pastor Jason Steffenhagen leads another called “The New Abnormal” on Fridays. “Chapel 2.0” airs weekly on Wednesdays to give you a mid-week lift, and the newest addition is a student stories series called “Beyond the Brick,” which airs every Tuesday and Thursday.

“I challenge us to think about time of challenge as a unique opportunity to go deep and wide in our faith” Bunker says. “While we may feel like our flesh and our heart are failing, the Lord is the strength of our lives and our portion (Psalm 73:6), the fulfillment of what we truly need and desire both today and tomorrow. Take heart and take courage in this season. Guard your hearts, rest and pray. Keep looking for opportunities to serve one another even if virtually. This too shall pass.”

Counseling Resources

Bethel’s Counseling Services also has a page called Coping with COVID-19 that also offers practical advice for managing anxiety at this time. Here are some ways that you can take back control:

  • Allow yourself time to reflect on what you’re feeling and how you may be reacting to any uncertainties or fears about the future.
  • Seek accurate information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and limit exposure to social media and news reports that provide no new information.
  • Follow the protection and prevention tips given by medical professionals and then focus on things within your control.
  • Create a new routine, as that will help to provide a sense of calm and normalcy. Engaging in activities that keep your mind occupied and provide you with a sense of accomplishment can help to boost your mood and reduce anxiety.
  • Avoid stigmatizing or generalizing. Be aware of your behavior or attitude change toward others from another country, avoid generalizing anyone who is sick as potentially having COVID-19, and examine any irrational or rigid thoughts that can exist when there is uncertainty.
  • If you or someone you know has high distress that does not seem to be lessening, talk about it with others and seek professional help.

"This is an important time to keep regularly communicating with our support people—even if we can't see them in person. Creating new rhythms for connection, self-care, and productivity promote good mental health. Many of us are also experiencing significant loss in this unexpected season, and it can help to give ourselves space to acknowledge and grieve those losses."

— Miriam Hill, Director of Counseling Services

Bethel Wellbeing Resources

Director of Wellbeing Initiatives Christine Osgood has led the charge for Bethel’s holistic view of wellbeing for both Bethel employees and students for a number of years. Since Bethel’s leadership team made the decision to continue the rest of the semester remotely, Osgood has been developing daily posts focused on wellbeing during the pandemic to help keep the community grounded. So far, she has covered everything from diaphragmatic breathing to the benefits and practices associated with Daily Examen—a form of reflective prayer—to cultivating emotional resilience in the midst of crisis. When Bethel employees began working from home, Osgood shared practical goals and offered advice for establishing a new routine, applicable for those with or without children.

“This pandemic is challenging. It is fueling anxiety, fear of the unknown, and grief,” Osgood says. “However, it is also inviting each of us into a deeper place of intentional living. Gone are the days of mindlessly moving through our hours. This pandemic invites us to remember what we value most. It invites us to remember how our lives impact the lives of others. It invites us to remember that God has always been calling us and continues to call us to partner with him in the renewal of this world." 

Stay tuned for COVID-19 updates

We will continue to communicate updates and answer frequently asked questions as they occur.

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