How Not to Go Stir-crazy

I’ve appreciated those who have shared how they are coping while we’re all socially isolating. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my own little list. Maybe it will help someone else get through the weeks ahead.

The calendar may say spring, but it’s still winter in Colorado. We had a lot of wind and several inches of snow yesterday, and today we’re still in the low 20’s at lunchtime. I’d love to do some gardening, go for a walk, or even better, go for a hike in the mountains, but I’m not that much of a masochist. Therefore, all these suggestions can apply indoors.

  • Consider this a sabbath rest. Use this period of downtime to read the Bible. Look up that confusing passage and learn what others think it says. Pray. Listen. James 4:8a says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (And the next sentence continues, “Wash your hands…”!)
  • If you’re working from home, it’s likely you don’t have extra time during the day. However, with meetings and events canceled, more evenings are free. This is a chance to do those things at the bottom of your do-do list, those things you’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had the time. Read that book. Make bread. Organize your photos. Finish that craft project. Download that movie.
  • Mix up your routine. If you normally eat in the kitchen, set out the good plates in the dining room. If you always get dressed before eating breakfast, flip it around and eat in your jammies. Eat dessert first. Try a new TV show, download a library book in a different genre.
  • Take a virtual vacation. A lot of national parks, museums, gardens, and similar tourist destinations have online tours. It’s not the same as actually being there, but maybe you can pick one or two to visit in person when all this is over.
  • Gather the family (if you have one) and work a jigsaw puzzle. Pick one age-appropriate for the youngest family member. You may not feel excited about searching for that missing piece, but the puzzle is actually just an excuse. Pete and I found that when our kids were on vacation from high school or home from college, they would open up and talk about important issues in their lives—as long as the focus was on the puzzle. Perhaps it’s less intimidating than having your parents staring at you!
  • Pick a room and rearrange the furniture. I’m staring at our family room, wondering if the bookshelves would go better on that wall and if the couches would fit better facing one another.
  • Connect online (via Skype, Zoom, etc.) and play a board game together. If you both have the same game, it’s easier, but even if not, you can position the camera so you can both track the game’s progress.
  • Have a picnic on the floor. Move in some houseplants and lay out a blanket. If there’s a screen handy, add some outdoor scenery to create a sense of place.
  • Tackle your honey-do list. Do you have a dripping faucet? Do the walls and woodwork need some touch up paint? Is your favorite sweater snagged, or have a gaping seam? Is the hood over the stove greasy? How about the tops of the cabinets? Check off a few things on your never-ending chore list and feel a sense of accomplishment.
  • Try something new. While attending classes is out, YouTube has instructional videos for anything and everything. Learn a new language. Take up a new hobby, such as knitting or photography. Try your hand at a new cuisine.
  • Give yourself permission to do nothing. Most of us usually have far too many items on our agendas. Now we’ve been given a reprieve. Don’t feel guilty—relax! Take this time to reassess your commitments, and pare them down to the most essential and meaningful. Pretend you’re a computer… unplug, count to ten, and be prepared to reboot when the time comes.

What are you doing (or not doing) while “sheltering in place”? I’d love to hear!

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