Well folks, it happened. I had really hoped that writing on a regular basis, and being surrounded by prayer warriors would make me immune to the weariness of this pandemic.


And then I had a root canal and a sinus infection all at the same time! With my body being run down, I succumbed to compassion fatigue (a weariness that comes from taking care of others more than taking care of self.). Of course, news that my mother fell and broke her hip did not help all of this! And autumn is usually one of my favorite times of year. Not this year.


As I tried to turn my attention back to self-care, I remembered an acronym I learned years ago. I honestly forget where I learned this from. If you know please pass it on so I can give credit where credit is due.


The acronym is SEEDS. It stands for:


  • Sleep: Are you sleeping your normal amount?
  • Exercise: Are you active?
  • Educate: Try learning something new each day.
  • Diet: Healthy nutrition. (This does not refer to weight loss)
  • Social: Connecting with others in some way.

I suggest we add another S for Spiritual. Are you engaging in some form of Spiritual Practice each day? This could be prayer, worship, Bible Study, or meditation. That makes our Acronym SEEDSS.


Even though Pastor Yvi recently did a sermon series on planting seeds, I did not think to write about this acronym until one afternoon when I heard myself during a counseling session going through each item. That’s when it finally occurred to me, this list might be helpful to others as we all check in with family, friends, neighbors and other church members.


It is so challenging to check in with others from a distance. Weekly phone calls become the familiar back and forth of “how are you?”, “I’m fine”. When we cannot see our friends or family members in person, “fine” does not tell us much. That is where SEEDSS becomes a useful tool.


Instead of asking “how are you this week?” try asking “how are you sleeping this week?”. We are looking for changes away from what is normal for the person we are checking on. It can be more. It can be less. We are also looking for changes that appear to be lasting more than a day/night or two. So, using sleep as the example. If a person’s normal is to sleep 8 hours per night, a significant change might be when they are not able to sleep more than 6 hours and that starts looking like a pattern. Remember, sleeping more than 8 hours is also significant. If the person starts sleeping 10 to 12 hours per night that can also be a sign of depression, especially if it is a pattern that lingers. This is for a person whose normal is 8 hours of sleep. For a person who sleeps 6 hours as their norm and they function well with this amount, sleeping 8 hours could be a sign they are slipping into a depression, especially if there are changes in other areas as well.


The most notable change I am seeing/hearing from others is that a lack of activity is changing our sleep patterns. So, checking in with someone about their activity level can be helpful. It opens up the door to creative problem solving. Explore solutions that sound like fun for both of you. Perhaps long distance scavenger hunts looking for items in nature as you both take long walks wherever you live. Set a time for a Zoom Dance party. Share your ideas with others.


As you are checking in, if you notice significant changes in more than one area for more than two weeks, it may be time to suggest your loved one seek help. Thankfully, disaster declarations now make it possible for our community mental health agencies to offer pandemic related services. The really good news is that these services are completely free and totally confidential. No file is opened. No diagnosis is recorded anywhere. Insurance is not billed.


Here in the Northland of Kansas City, our community mental health agency is Tri-County Community Mental Health. Their website is https://www.tri-countymhs.org/. I’ve gone to their homepage and I noticed that they have a play therapist who puts together at-home play therapy kits for kids! I think I want/need one!


Anyway, Tri-County is now part of a statewide response to the pandemic called, Show Me Hope. Show Me Hope crisis counselors are available to any Missourian experiencing stress or emotional strain due to COVID-19. Citizens may also contact the Disaster Distress Helpline 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week at 1-800-985-5990 or send a text message “TalkWithUs” to 66746.


Tri-County also has a 24/7 crisis line at 1-888-279-8188. Anyone can access this hotline, even if you are calling to get suggestions for how to best help the person you have been checking on.


When the pandemic first shut everything down, most mental health providers were stuck scrambling to learn how to do Telehealth, providing counseling via safe, confidential patient portals, kind of like doctors’ offices use. I am among those who knew very little about doing this online. With a steep learning curve and several clients sucked back into depression because they were cut off from their usual support networks, it is no wonder compassion fatigue eventually set in. Part of my recovery has been the discovery of the Show Me Hope program. In a very brief amount of time Tri-County has stepped up to meet the challenges the pandemic has created for all of us. I sort of feel like the handful of Avengers in the last scenes from Endgame (spoiler alert!), when the wormholes in time open up and the troops that had been lost rejoin the tiny team fighting Thanos and his crew. Now I know I have back up. As I am calling and checking on others, it is such a relief to know that if I have concerns, there is a well-connected network of providers out there ready, willing and able to assist.


And, they are ready to help us prevent our family and friends from reaching a crisis point. So, please help me in spreading the word that these services are available. Make sure those you check in on have these phone numbers and the website for Tri-County. We are so blessed to live in a community where our church and our community mental health agencies can all work together to share hope and healing with each other.


Finally, let me leave you with Jesus’ words written in Matthew 11:28-30. I have inserted the words “providing care for others” in brackets.


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion {providing care for others}? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”


May God give you rest this season.


Peace to you,