None of us probably dreamed of a time in our lives when we’d be instructed to remain in our homes and not interact with others. Yet here we are, doing just that. Initially, time at home, away from a demanding schedule, is freeing, but similar to being snowed in for a few days, the slow-down soon wears off and cabin fever sets in.
Following are ways you can move forward while sheltering in place:
The COVID-19 pandemic just happened to coincide with my needing to clean out my family homeplace and get it ready to place on the market. I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past few weeks, doing the hard work of cleaning, moving furniture out, and going through boxes that I couldn’t make myself process after my mother’s death almost ten years ago.
Most of us put off decluttering because it makes up process memories and make decisions that force us to put aside sentimentality and opt for practicality. While you’re at home, move forward by tackling a few boxes or closets or a storage room. You’ll gain a sense of satisfaction for do the hard work of decluttering.
Recount Family History
I grew up hearing stories of the escapades of my parents and grandparents. I’m thankful for that glimpse of life in previous generations, not only the humorous stories, but the serious ones of surviving war time, illnesses, and other types of difficulty.
It’s important to remind ourselves, our children, and grandchildren, that our ancestors faced hard times, survived, and thrived. Along with the stories, look at how past generations handled difficulties. Did they come up with creative ways to earn money, or rely on their faith to get them through? Look for spiritual strengths as well as practical ways to deal with challenges, and how you can apply those to your life in your current trials.
In recent weeks, I’ve received calls, emails, and text messages from fellow church members, church staff, friends, and family members. These contacts encouraged me to reach out to others with words of encouragement or thankfulness.
Sometimes we forget that there are those for whom “sheltering in place” is a way of life because of illness, mobility issues, or age. In these days, when anxieties are high, and fear constantly taps us on the shoulder, it’s especially important to contact those who are already homebound and cut off from interaction with others.
Often, reading for pleasure and edification falls to the bottom of the list. Now, while staying at home, enjoy reading. Escape in the pages of a good novel. Learn something new. Research a place you hope to visit in the future.
Resist the temptation to allow COVID-19 statistics, predictions, and horror stories as your only reading material. While it’s good to stay informed, a steady diet of this type of information heightens fears and shifts your focus to negativity. Balance what you read and limit media time.
Express Your Creativity
In going through boxes at my childhood home, I found Mother’s Day cards replete with some of my early, less than wonderful, and ultimately hilarious juvenile poetry. After having a good laugh, mixed with a few tears, I was reminded that my penchant for the written word stretches all the way back to childhood. I found that comforting and inspiring. It encourages me to faithfully pursue writing, even when I feel my words are powerless and my audience minimal.
How can you express your creativity? Remember creative pursuits from the past and rekindle your passion for those, or start something new.
Shelter in place doesn’t exempt time outside. Enjoy the beauty of spring—sights, sounds, and smells. Take a walk. Work in a neglected flower bed. Notice the return of perennials. Their determination reminds us we can weather tough seasons and come back strong. Dine al fresco on your patio, deck, or even in the driveway. Nature soothes the soul and refreshes the spirit. Sustain forward motion by spending time in the beauty of nature.
Those who live in urban areas have found creative ways of coupling music with nature. Even with only a small balcony as an outdoor platform, many have harnessed the power of voice and instruments, joined together, to lift spirits and inspire hope.
In times of anxiety and distress, I’m thankful I can rely on my faith to reshape my perspective. In this current global health crisis, it’s easy to lose perspective and paint everything with a gray brushstroke of doom. But faith calls us to look beyond what we can see, to what is unseen—the all-powerful, mighty hand of God.
Tap into strength, courage, and peace through time spent in prayer. Express your fears and concerns to God, verbally or in a journal, and expect him to answer, comfort, and counsel you. He is faithful, especially in times of crisis.
“We live within the shadow of the Almighty, sheltered by the God who is above all gods. This I declare, that he alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him. For he rescues you from every trap and protects you from the fatal plague.” Psalm 91:1-3 TLB
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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