Imagine this: Every day you wake up, immediately aware of everything that could go wrong. A list of worst-case scenarios is constantly playing on a loop in your head. Even if a day goes well, you can’t help but wonder when it won’t. The littlest thing can set you off on a spiral of “what ifs.” Your boss emails you to come into her office. Your child is late coming home from school. Your spouse is short with you. Whatever the situation, you feel as though it’s entirely your fault, so all you can do is prepare for the worst.

And then suddenly, the whispered reports of a new virus become more real. You’re asked to work from home. Your kids suddenly have to be home-schooled. You can’t get essential items or grocery shop without a reminder of the threat of illness.

In a week, your life is completely different. A global event that wasn’t even on your worst-case scenario list is happening.

And there’s no end in sight.

Even when the world opens up a bit, you have friends who are being laid off, friends who are getting COVID, friends you can’t even see because they’re outside of your household bubble. You try to be strong for your family and calm your children’s fears, but you’re completely unable to deal with your own.

The anxiety you feel each and every day doesn’t let up. You feel consumed by it and you have no way of catching your breath. Maybe you don’t have to imagine this. Maybe this is something you or a loved one live with every day.

It’s only been in recent years that public discourse around mental health is becoming more normalized – and we are so thankful for it. But even though we’re talking about it more, many are still suffering in silence. And the global pandemic has only exacerbated many people’s existing mental health struggles.

On top of that, January has always been one of the most difficult months of the year – even in a pre-pandemic world. The anticipation of Christmas is behind us, the weather is dreary, causing many to feel seasonal depression, and it’s the number one month for divorce filings. Add to that the ongoing pandemic restrictions, and it’s understandable if you are feeling the effect on your mental health.

Anxiety is just one part of a larger discussion on mental health, but it’s a valuable one to speak into. For those who live with anxiety, the very act of reaching out for help is stressful. Even if you want to make a change, the fear of cold-calling counsellors or opening up to a stranger – even if they’re a professional – stops many from taking that first step. Recent statistics show that only about three in 10 people with anxiety ever seek help.

Feeling anxious is natural, as God designed our brains to react to danger. The challenge is when the volume is essentially turned up on this experience. The pandemic has of course been anxiety-inducing, but living in a heightened state of stress and fear is not how we’re meant to live. It’s not sustainable and can cause real, lasting harm to our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.

The good news is that relief is possible. And we want to help.

We have put together a booklet filled with professional advice, biblical insights and follow-up resource suggestions to help you better understand and navigate anxiety in your own life, in your marriage, as a parent and specifically with your teens.

You may not find all the answers you’re looking for, but we pray you find hope. Hope that anxiety doesn’t need to define your life. Hope that anxiety – like any health concern – can be treated and managed. Hope that, even though we’re feeling the weight of many burdens, there is a loving, caring God who asks nothing more than for us to come to him, weary as we are, and find rest.

Consider this a first step in your healing journey. We want you to know it is possible to live well with anxiety, equipped with the tools and resources that allow for a full life – as God intended.

In addition to this free resource, we want to remind you our care and counselling team is here for you. Our registered Christian counsellors offer free, one-time phone consultations, and we also provide referrals to local counsellors across the country. Our care team is ready to pray with you for whatever burdens are on your heart. Please reach out for help. You don’t have to go it alone. Call us at 1.800.661.9800 or email us at [email protected].