Shutdowns or Furloughs by the government have been going on since the 1980s.  Unfortunately, this is nothing new. However, each time the reasoning is different. Currently, there are over 800,000 employees impacted but this does not include families, state governments, and supporting businesses. With all of this said, this post is to encourage you to stay focused and find hope in the mist of uncertain and unexpected events. 

  • Talk. Do not isolate yourself. 

It is common for us to withdraw when we are experiencing difficulty. When we isolate, this allows negative thoughts to creep in. Do let the negative thoughts convince your “that life is so bad” and that “you are the only one that is experiencing what you are experiencing.”  So be more social.  Allow yourself to reconnect with others.  It will make you feel better. By the way, getting out there and telling your story to others, may helpful to others. 

  • Share.  Tell others what’s going on. 

People care. You will not know people care if you do not share your story with others.  Also, don’t’ be afraid to ask for help.  In general, it is a habit to say, “I’m ok. Everything is good.”  But make it a point to be more open and honest during this time.  Try not to allow pride to get in the way.  Why? Because your needs cannot be met if no one around you know you are in need.  There is need to suffer in silence. 

  • Source. Turn to the source. 

Some people have children or have a lot of financial responsibilities and may feel lost, alone, and afraid during this time.  Remember, your employment is a resource but not the source.  God is the source.  In times, of crisis do not be afraid to reach out to God and refocus your faith.  This is a good time to start a new routine by dedicating more quality time rebuild your relationship with God.  Also, keep in mind that your local houses of faith are open and waiting to pray and encourage you during this time. 

  • Resources. Learn, Plant, & Grow. 

Use this time off as an opportunity to discover or hone your other gift and skills. For example, I have a gift of listening to others and encouraging.  So, during my time on the furlough, I am using my mental health degree to offer free therapy to some government employees in my community.  You too can do something similar, what are your skills or gifts?  Maybe you do not want to offer free services. That’s fine.  In my area, two sisters who were furloughed created a cheesecake business and are selling cheesecakes to customers all over the country. Even to Talk Show Host, Ellen DeGeneres!  Inspiring right?!!  Let this time be a time to learn what you are skilled at, plant seeds into the lives of others, and grow aspects of your life for the future. Find opportunities to use your gifts and in the midst, encourage others with your time during this crisis.  Your gifts will be a blessing to you as well as others.  

In sum, remember, this furlough is temporary.  Stay focused and remain hopeful. If you are in the DMV area and are seeking mental health services, please contact ReFocus Together at   If you live elsewhere, do not be afraid to reach out to the LAP in your state or your local mental health services. 

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