The Pandemic struck and the women of West Deptford went to work!
Totals for the main projects this year are:
- South Jersey Dream Center–$2681, $5707 in kind 150 hours
- Seeds of Hope–$1690 in kind 431 hours
- GWCM (Greater Woodbury Cooperative Ministries)–$1660, $4103 in kind 269 hours
- Angels Community Outreach–$3625 in kind 70 hours
Other projects include Family Promise, making masks, cards for Manor Care, helping a WCWD member and WD family in need, and donating Christmas and Thanksgiving gift cards.
Totals for the year (drum roll!)—$7921 $16,376 in kind 1316 hours.
Tips for cultivating joy and self-compassion during the Pandemic
(from the CDC and the Chopra Center)
1. Take a broader view—what you are experiencing now may be uncomfortable, but it is not the end of the story. Instead of focusing on the current level of discomfort, try to keep your focus in the present. Ekhart Tolle, the great spiritual teacher, summed up the value of living in the present moment, “Unease, anxiety, tension, worry—all forms of fear—are caused by too much FUTURE, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much PAST, and not enough presence. There are no real problems in the present moment, only situations that require a response.”
2. Take care of yourself— physically and mentally. Your body needs nutritious foods, walking outside, and getting enough sleep. Adequate sleep should be the number one priority. According to Dr. David Dinges, a physiological psychologist from Penn Medicine, “Good sleep is like seeing a good friend.” Mental health is also an important part of overall health and well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It may also affect how we handle stress.
- Take deep beaths when starting to feel anxious
- Meditate—there are several free meditation exercises on apps or YouTube. Five minutes daily can make a difference
- Make time for activities that you enjoy that can be done during this difficult time
- Connect with others virtually
- Take a virtual class—something that you have always wanted to learn about. (I took a free class from Yale on “The Science of Well-Being,” Fascinating!)
- Rethink family traditions—explore how to get similar experiences with less effort (eat in the garage). Invite friends and family to brainstorm.
3. Give to those with greater need than yourself. Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a little boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers: you will always find people who are helping.’”
- Call to check in on a neighbor
- Offer to pick up groceries for a friend
- Send virtual cards
- Make soup for the elderly in your church/neighborhood
- Leave birthday posters/signs on the doorstep of local children
- Volunteer at a food pantry
4. Reevaluate your priorities—since many usual activities have been suspended, it’s a good time to reassess which ones were adding value to your life and which ones were simply “time fillers.” It’s easy to become involved in book clubs, classes, and obligations that feel more like a chore than self-care. Quarantine offers a unique opportunity to reevaluate which activities you should keep, add, or drop.
5. Practice self-compassion—Practice acceptance (of external situations like COVID and yourself). Both are liberating-one from the outside world and one from struggling against yourself, what you’re feeling, and how you believe you should be dealing with the experience.
- Cultivate patience—in these times impatience breeds frustration, anger, and hostility that can get directed at others as well as yourself. It’s triggered by things not happening in accordance with your timeline; a reflection of trying to control that which is beyond your control.
- Manage your expectations—the more expectations you have, and the more rigid they are, the more frustration you will experience when they are not met.
- Be easy with yourself—treat yourself with care, love, openness, and compassion as you would a dear friend. Do what you feel you’re able to handle. You have nothing to prove; no one is keeping score. Practice the “Law of Least Effort”—do less to accomplish more by giving yourself the nourishment you need to stay healthy, rested, and grounded.
- Release guilt and Self-Judgement—cut yourself some slack during these trying times by releasing negative feelings like guilt and remorse over past choices or judging yourself harshly for not living up to your expectations.
- Practice gratitude—think of one thing that you are grateful for each day.