Over the next few weeks there will be a lot of people quarantined in their homes in an all-out attempt to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
This is cause for concern, but it need not be a cause for fear. Especially if we prepare well for it.
But what exactly can we do while isolated – either alone or with family – for days or weeks at a time?
A lot of people are already adding to their TV-watching queues. That’s not wrong – I plan to watch some TV and movies myself. But if that’s all we do, we will have added to the problem by squandering our time.
Fighting Fear By Fighting Boredom
Staving off boredom may seem like a trivial issue. And it is certainly not as severe as the medical and financial challenges many are facing. But it is not trivial.
Fear is a very real issue right now. And fears tend to grow when we’re passive, but diminish when we’re active.
So let’s keep busy. But not just for the sake of busyness. Let’s use this as an opportunity to do activities that add value to our lives and the lives of others.
Here are a few ideas:
Start with the Bible. Depending how long this goes, you might cover a lot of territory, or go really deep into a book that touches your heart.
Also, you can catch up on books that can teach you something new.
Enjoy a novel or biography.
Join an online book club with friends, or join an existing site like Goodreads.
Process your thoughts, feelings and ideas in a journal or diary. This is a great
Write a book that someone else might want to read. I can tell you from personal experience, there are more people who want to read what you have to say than you might think.
Send cards or letters to friends.
This would be a great time to make something with paint, clay, paper, music, yarn, wood, glue, macaroni noodles, you name it.
You need it.
We need it.
The world needs it.
Pray especially for the ill and elderly, medical personnel, first responders, people whose livelihood is on hold, and anyone else who’s hit hard by this crisis.
For so much of our lives, too many people just move from one event to the other.
What if we used this forced slowdown to pause, look ahead, ask the Lord where he wants us to go, and start thinking and praying about how to get there?
Your local gym will be empty for a while, so it’s a great time to use the treadmill in your garage for something other than a clothing rack.
Or enjoy some fresh air if the weather and local ordinances allow you to walk or run outside.
Music, podcasts and audiobooks are a great way to double up on the value of your time spent doing other things.
To get audiobooks for free, download the Libby app. Most libraries connect to this app, which you can use to borrow thousands of ebooks and audiobooks at no cost.
Dust off those old board games, puzzles, and card decks. Or get the family together and create a game of your own.
It’s just about springtime, anyway.
That online business you’ve been planning?
That hobby you’ve been wanting to enjoy?
That creative idea you’d like to get off the ground?
That podcast you’ve been thinking about?
Whether you call it pondering, musing, meditating, contemplating or thinking, we don’t do enough of it any more.
I’m not going to paint a false smile on my face. This is a serious and difficult time. Quarantines (even self-imposed) are hard. But if you have to be quarantined, this is the best time in history for it. Literally.
Unlike previous eras, we can keep in touch with friends and family with our phones, on live stream, through email, texts and more. Connect with old friends, meet new folks and keep a sense of community alive and growing.
Someone near you needs something that you can help with.
Maybe it’s watching a neighbor’s child whose school has been closed, so mom and/or dad can go to work. Or helping with the physical needs of the ill or elderly.
Right now, most churches and charities are expending even more of their limited resources than usual, while receiving less in offerings and donations than they need.
If you have the financial means, don’t hoard it, share it.
Whether it’s that storage room, your garage, your calendar, or those ideas bouncing around in your head, there are so many benefits to organizing random piles into an orderly and usable fashion.
A fact a day. A new language. A new skill. A musical instrument.
There’s so much we don’t know. And, thanks to the amazing device you’re looking at right now, there are so many ways to learn.
We have a lot to be grateful for.
Especially in times like these.
If we look around, we can see people stepping up to help those in need.
If you’re able to be a helper, or if you have someone who’s helping you, express your gratitude to them and to God.
Copyright © 2020 by the author or Christianity Today.
Click here to read our guidelines concerning reprint permissions.