Greater Sydney is enduring an extended two-month lockdown (which could be extended even longer).

How can we get through this challenging time?

In this video, TGCA interviews Psychologist and Chaplain Sarah Balogh as she gives five tips to help you through an extended lockdown:

Further Information

Here is further info on some of the key points, to help you better understand and implement them into your life:

1. Be sad about sad things – lament is healthy

As Christians, we often throw around sayings that border on cliche: e.g., in tough times we might say to ourselves or others, ‘just trust in God’.

While such sayings may be true, they can lead us to ignore or minimise our emotions. But our emotions are part of the way God created us. Thus, it’s right to feel sad about sad things (such as being isolated from our church).

Groves and Smith summarise this well in their new book, Untangling Emotions:

‘Our negative emotions, like God’s, play a necessary role in our lives. They tell us that something is wrong. Just as happiness, joy, peace, and contentment look around and conclude that things are as they ought to be, so disgust, annoyance, discouragement, and fury are designed to identify places where this fallen world is fallen, where disorder, damage, and destruction have broken something we rightly hold precious. Evaluating the world as fractured and being moved in response are deeply Christian experiences.’ [1]

However, it’s also important not to overthink our sadness or get emotionally stuck (which can lead to rumination or even depression).[2] Engaging with our emotions rather than ignoring them helps us to gain valuable perspective. It helps us to identify, evaluate, examine, and eventually change the way we act.[3]

Thus, like many a Psalmist in the Bible, our processing of sad emotions leads us to look to God: we often end up in a place of thankfulness to God for his goodness to us (e.g., Psalm 73). Such praise and gratitude will also help us endure the trials of lockdown.

2. Focus on what’s inside your locus of control

While the video explores several things inside and outside our locus of control, it’s worth stating that other people are also outside our locus of control.

And yet, how often do we try and control other people?

While we may influence others, trying to control them will lead to frustration and even control issues.

Furthermore, in lockdown things within our control are significantly curtailed, which is why we might feel more frustrated during a lockdown. And so, it’s essential to direct our attention to things within our locus of control, such as things we can achieve. This will also tend to lower our anxiety levels.

3. Be a ‘non-anxious’ presence to those around you

Family Therapist Dr Edwin Friedman coined the term ‘non-anxious’ presence. He often uses it in a leadership context, but it applies equally to families, churches, and any other system of relationships.

He writes:

‘What is vital to changing any kind of ‘family’ is not knowledge of technique or even pathology but rather the capacity of the family leader to define his or her own goals and values, while trying to maintain a non-anxious presence within the system.’ [4]

As the name ‘non-anxious’ suggests, it means behaving within those relationships in a way that isn’t driven by our anxiety.

While we may feel deeply anxious, the key here is managing or regulating our anxiety.

Of course, being a calm presence isn’t always easy due to how we feel (especially in a lockdown). But for the most part, trying to exude a less anxious presence in our relationships will serve us well.[5]

4. Have a regular routine

Most of us know the importance of routine, as without routine we tend to feel emotionally ‘lost’. Being in routine also means time seems to pass more quickly – which is not a bad thing for lockdown.


TGCA thanks Anglican Churches Springwood and Georgia Condie for their help in making this video possible. 


[1] J. Alasdair Groves and Winston T. Smith, Untangling Emotions (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2019), 27.

[2] For more on how to do this, we recommend Dr Russ Harris, The Happiness Trap (Wollombi: Exisle, 2011).

[3] As we said in the video, managing our emotions often takes time and practice. Psychologists or wise professionals or pastors may be able to help us with this.  If you wish to find a Counsellor to assist you, Mental Health Care Plans can be accessed through your GP.

[4] Quoted in R.R Creech, Family Systems and Congregational Life. A map for ministry (Baker Academic, 2019), 38.

[5] If you’re a parent, a highly recommended book that deals with non-anxious parenting is ‘Screamfree parenting: How to Raise Amazing Adults by Learning to Pause More and React Less’ (Harmony; Reprint Edition, 2007).