At St Luke’s we know that staying at home can be hard work. Many of us are finding hard the disruption to our routine and the reduced contact with people. As well as providing some spiritual resources, we offer these tips to help alleviate some of the challenge of being on shutdown:
Pray. God is with us. Prayer is part of our relationship with him. Take time each day to pray to God. Some people will need a period of silence, others may want to speak their prayers out. You may do this together or apart. Have fun trying new ways of praying. You could almost make it a game. We have resources for prayer on the webpage. Good communication is a two-way relationship: listening to God is a vital part of prayer. Over the years Christians have found the Bible to be a wonderful way to listen to God. There are resources on the website to help you read the Bible.
Get dressed. This might sound like a daft thing to start with, and not particularly spiritual, but by getting dressed (and maybe making more of an effort some days) will not only brighten your mood, but help keep you in the pattern of daytime and nighttime. A few people we’ve spoken to find that the occasional PJ day is really helpful, but not every day.
Play. Even though the news is serious, and the situation is uncertain, God has given us all the desire for fun. Relaxing helps us rest and recover. Telling jokes, playing board games, and laughing together can help us pass the time. Some people are using phone apps to make silly videos, while others are finding games online. Reading is also a valuable way to relax, or listening to music.
Get active. Try and do something physical each day. The Government have advised we can leave the house once a day for exercise – take this opportunity, even if all you do is walk around the block. But even at home, get active. For those wit a garden or yard perhaps some games can be played – football, running, etc. Some people are enjoying the videos provided online of thirty minute workouts, particularly good for kids (an example is Joe Wicks’ videos on YouTube).Could you have a pillow fight? In one house they have a thing called ‘rough and tumble’ where all the duvets, cushions, and pillows are dragged into one room when for fifteen minutes they have a safe wrestling event. For older folk, you might simply need to stand up regularly and move about – don’t stay on the sofa all day!
Open your windows. Stand on the doorstep. Have five minutes in the yard or garden, if you have one, in your coat if necessary. Fresh air wafting through your house might add a chill to the air, but it can do wonders to cleaning away any stale smells, and can also help us re-set our homes a little. Don’t clean your house too much or too often, accept that some mess will come with more people using it more often. You might like to look out your windows too to see what nature is doing – spring is in the air and on the branches.
Help. Each day try and help someone in your house. This could be helping cook, tidying up, letting someone talk about their worries, playing a game, being kind to a brother or sister (or parent!), being quiet for a bit, allowing someone else to choose what’s on TV, letting the TV be turned off for a bit.
Talk. Don’t keep your worries bottled up. Some people are having problems sleeping, either getting to sleep,or their dreams are affected. Don’t suffer in silence. Tell the people around you how you feel, what you think about the situation, and what frustrations you have. Are there things you wish you could do but can’t? Why not make a list as a household of the things you would like to do when the crisis is over. Be honest. Talk to each other.
Create.Humans are made to be creative. You might find it helpful to make some time each day to make something, whether that’s cooking, or writing a poem, or drawing a picture, or playing an instrument, or making up a dance for a favourite song, or writing about how you’re feeling. There are lots of people at church who enjoy crafts: painting, knitting, crocheting, sewing. You might discover a new hobby at this time.
Connect. Keep in contact with friends and family. The wonder of social media has meant many of us can see our friends, colleagues and family as well as hear them. We are able to stay in touch in so many ways, but why not try to actually call or video-call at least one person outside your home every day.
Ration media. In an age of 24/7 news channels, and a media constantly reporting on Coronavirus, many people are reporting that their mental health is suffering. We advise that you limit the amount of time you listen to the news. Perhaps set a few times in the day, for example 8am for half an hour, or at lunchtime, early evening, or sit down to watch the summary of the day at 10pm. Also, while social media is good, try not to stay on social media too long. As above: stand up, get some exercise, be creative.
Set targets. Make a list of things you would like to get done each day. You might find a timetable helpful, some maybe not. Don’t be too ambitious though. Be realistic about what you could get done – some people are taking the opportunity to sort through clothes, or tidying the kitchen cupboards, or doing a spot of gardening. But be sensible about managing the other needs you have: sleep, rest, relaxation, prayer, creativity, communication. We are not loved any more by God if we have a productive day. But he has made us for good works and during your isolation there might be some ignored tasks you can get done.
Drink. Another simple tip, keep hydrated! Make sure you drink water throughout the day, enjoy those cups of tea or coffee, but maybe watch out for too much caffeine. You’ll be surprise what a glass of water mid-afternoon might do to your mood.
Be kind. Finally, above all, be kind to yourself. Some have suggested we’re experiencing a form of grief, some of us feel pressure to home-school just like the best teachers, some of us compare ourselves to people we know or media figures, some of us feel like we should be ‘doing better.’ Be kind to yourself. God knows that this situation is unlike anything any of us have lived through before. Don’t be unkind, but gentle with yourself. Sometimes, if you can, that might even mean taking a nap. God loves you and is with you.