Here are 5 coping tips to bring light to COVID dark times ahead. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control)  has warned us that the darkest days are ahead with the rapid spread of COVID combined with winter here in the US – forcing more people to stay indoors.

The English theologian and historian, Thomas Fuller, is credited with the expression, “it is always darkest just before the day dawneth.” We usually paraphrase that as, “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

Dawn is coming. The vaccine has arrived. Rather than focus on the darkness, I wanted to offer these coping tips to bring light into this dark time. Isaiah says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

Coping Tip 1 – Practice Gratitude

The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Life can be extremely difficult right now, but rather than focus on what is not going right, focus on what blessings you have in your life and the people in your life. Give God thanks. Thank others who help you and support you. You can’t be fearful and anxious when you express what you are grateful for.

Coping Tip 2 – Counter Negative News with Positive Books or Programs

Prior to the pandemic, I rarely watched the news. Now, confession, I watch it every day. But for what I watch or read, I balance it with something positive.

In this post I share many of my favorite books. It’s called The Top 3 Reasons Why I Love Books and Why You Should Too. The listing of books is at the end of the article along with pictures taken with some of my favorite authors who I have had the honor to meet. : )

Here are some of the positive and entertaining programs Robert and I enjoy:

For positive news and stories, CBS Sunday Morning. Check your local TV listings for time. For us it’s Sunday from 8:30-10am central. You can watch this online if you are not in the US.

Robert and I are a big fan of documentaries. Since I’m a storyteller, I love stories. If you have Netflix, these are some of our favorites: In the music arena: 20 Feet from Stardom (all about background singers), David Foster Off the Record. (I had no idea the number of stars and songs he produced.) Clive Davis the Soundtrack of Our Lives.

If you are a foodie or love to travel, travel along with this Netflix series called Somebody Feed Phil. “Everybody Loves Raymond” creator Phil Rosenthal travels the globe to take in the local cuisine and culture. After watching this, I want to go to Lisbon and Singapore! The camera work is stunning. And the best part of travel is the people that you meet. It will feel like you are there. Who doesn’t want to get away right now?

For those without Netflix, there is The Chosen. I’ve mentioned this before. When I saw this advertised on Facebook, I thought it was going to be a cheesy version of the Gospels. Robert and I were both so moved by this series. It’s the most beautiful depiction of Jesus and those who surrounded him. I can’t wait for season 2. You can learn more and watch it for free here:

My pastor had mentioned watching The Crown, another Netflix series. Robert and I watched the first episode and were hooked. This drama follows the political rivalries and romance of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign and the events that shaped the second half of the 20th century. (It is part real, part fiction and very thought provoking.)

If you love dogs and perseverance, you will love Pick of the Litter. Five Labrador puppies embark on a 20-month training to pass the milestones on their journey to becoming guide dogs for people with visual impairment. It’s adorable, it’s heart-warming, it’s incredible to see what it takes for a puppy to be a guide dog. This will inspire you to know that whatever you are wanting to do that’s worthwhile in life, there is no short cut or overnight success. Which will segue nicely into Tip 3.

Coping Tip 3 – Set Some Kind of Goal

BC (before COVID) you may have had many planned events. Numerous research studies confirm that anticipating an event is even more powerful than reminiscing about an event. Anticipation boosts happiness.

Rather than dwell on what you can’t do in the next three months, what can you do? Is there a skill you would like to learn? Is there a class you would like to take? Are there recipes you’ve never tried, a book you’d like to write?

When you have a goal, it can help you to focus your attention towards meeting that goal. You will experience well-being and a sense of accomplishment.

Want to look forward to something in January? Fifteen wonderful people attended my Joycation, a Saturday morning virtual retreat. If want to be put on the list, please contact me and I will send you the details. For my Australia and New Zealand friends, I will create a separate one for you based on the time zone differences.

Coping Tip 4 – Give

Luke 6:38 (The Message) says: Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity.

The need has never been greater in people’s live right now, so find a way to give. Giving is not limited to money. You can give of your time and your talents to help others. Every little bit can help.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Do what you can with what you have where you are.”

Coping Tip 5 – Be Mindful What You Watch or Read Before You Go to Bed

Focusing on the news, reading about the events happening in the world on news sites and blogs can create a lot of fear and anxiety. That manifests in your sleep.

Watching violent movies, watching the late news, or reading violence in books or online can set you up for nightmares. There was a mystery author I used to enjoy but can’t read anymore because his books became too violent. After a serious nightmare, I gave up his books.

I hope you find these tips to be helpful. If you have any recommendations on books or programs, I’d love for you to share.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5

Look for the light.