Lockdown Tips: 34 Ideas…That You CAN Do in a Weird World
Written by Bob DeAngelo, Pastor of Youth and Outreach
Have you ever had the wind knocked out of you? What a HORRIBLE feeling! You have absorbed a blow to the stomach, and you feel as if you can’t breathe. You are going to be okay, but you need to take a few minutes to allow your breath to return.
Spiritually and emotionally, that is how I felt about 2-3 weeks ago when Covid-19 really hit the United States. Just about everything I had been doing or planning on doing was either cancelled, or it was on very tenuous ground.
About two or three weeks ago, I was spending some time one morning talking to God about all of this “stuff.” (I walk my neighborhood when I pray.) When I finished my prayer time, I recall just emerging encouraged. Please don’t get me wrong – I am praying daily that this very strange time where the Coronavirus hovers over all of our lives…will go away very soon. But I am also praying that I will not just survive this “new normal,” and that I will redeem the time that God has given to me. If God allows me to stay healthy through this, I am determined to embrace the opportunities that He has afforded me.
Here are a few ideas of ways to live out Ephesians 5:16 right now:
1. Plan ONE thing per day. Whether you play a game, watch a show or movie, or do anything else that you choose, planning is essential. Obviously this involves your time outside of work, but having one thing planned for the day as a family or individual will allow you to rest during other times, knowing that you have something to look forward to, or something that you have accomplished.
2. Take a shower and get dressed…even if you don’t “have” to.
3. Get SOME exercise – VERY important. Studies show that exercise will benefit you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Walk, jog (I LOVE to jog – it is the one time each day when my body goes to work and my brain gets to rest)…maybe even do some pushups, sit-ups, or stretching.
4. Journal your eating – I use the app, My Fitness Pal published by Under Armor. It is free and very easy to navigate. My Fitness Pal will allow you to see how many calories you are eating and drinking each day. The app is a budgeting tool for what you put into your body.
5. Get 8 hours of sleep each night for once in your life.
6. Read the Book of Esther (or any Bible book you choose) as a family right after clearing the supper table.
7. After reading your Bible chapter, take prayer requests and pray as a family each night.
8. Worship and fellowship when your church provides livestream meetings (and if you like, check out what some other churches are doing as well!).
9. Do some journaling. Reflect on your day or week, process thoughts that came up, evaluate your practices. (For years, on Sunday morning, I have journaled what I call a weekly review, looking back at the previous week, and then prayerfully looking ahead to the next week and what God has for me.)
10. Write. Take a subject and hammer out your thoughts on that topic. For me, writing involves taking disconnected thoughts that are floating in my mind, and connecting and uniting them. Writing helps me to move from fuzzy thinking to clarity…and clarity of thought produces both comfort and confidence in action. You could write about your values, dreams, current habits, or any subject that interests you. Have fun exploring and connecting your own thoughts on that topic.
11. Read something that you find fascinating. Reading sometimes gets a bum rap because people read things that they think that they are “supposed” to read or benefit from. Get your hands on a book about something that you would like to learn about – time management, marriage, discerning God’s will, money, parenting, the story of an individual in a realm that interests you (leadership, business, sports, politics, the arts), sleep, health, relationships…the possibilities are literally endless.
Some books I have read recently that you might find interesting:
– Your Future Self Will Thank You (on the topic of self-discipline)
– Christians Get Depressed Too (about 100 pages)
– The National Team (there is some language in this book, but if you have an interest in USA Women’s Soccer like I do…)
– Gods at War – Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart (easy read, a “real life” book)
– Top of the Hill (The story of Clemson football coach, Dabo Swinney)
– Change of Affection (a very interesting story of how a man named Becket Cook came to Christ from a gay lifestyle)
– Killing _______________ series by Bill O’Reilly (if you like history, these books read like fast moving novels…)
– The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (I love good productivity and time management books)
– Confronting Christianity (a recent, best-selling book on Christian apologetics)
12. Enjoy board or card games – pick one and play as a family. Some that we have recently discovered or already enjoy are: Dominion, The Mind (very simple), Imagine Iff, Exploding Kittens, Aggravation, Rook, Ticket to Ride…or even Risk or Monopoly (you have time, right?).
13. Make a list of movies that you have wanted to watch (or that you have already seen and enjoy) and put one on at 7:00 tonight.
The website www.pluggedin.com has a few lists of wholesome movies that your entire family can enjoy.
14. Pull out a puzzle or buy one on Amazon, and enjoy putting it together – no rush!
15. Play Mario Kart or Animal Crossing on the Wii or Nintendo Switch (does anyone know where you can find a Nintendo Switch? Everyone is apparently sold out!).
16. Find a recipe on the internet and make it! (And then share it with me!!!) I googled “Butter garlic pasta” last week – 5 ingredients – and made it up. Not bad!
* One thing that I like to do is to find my favorite dishes from restaurants…and try to recreate them. I have been moderately successful at fried rice with a variety of meats with Yum Yum Sauce on the side. I have been more successful at recreating my favorite Italian Beef Sandwich from my Chicago roots!
17. Wash your hands before doing #16…and after doing #16…and after doing all of these, and before doing all of these…
18. Clean out your storage area/garage/shed. Just do a little bit at a time – the most difficult part of this…is just starting. So start.
19. Take a nap…which likely sounds better than #18.
20. Paint a room that you have been meaning to get to. My wife and daughter painted my daughter’s bedroom…white. Apparently the new neutral…
21. Clean up your outdoor grill. If you are in North Carolina, your grill’s original color is not yellow.
22. Mow your lawn…get it looking nice…and if your neighbor needs help, help them with their lawn as well. (I mowed 5 last week.) It is a wonderful sensation to see an orderly lawn and to smell freshly cut grass…
23. Clean up a room in your house. Or…you can always go back to #19.
24. Eat a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables every day. Live food will yield many benefits.
25. Learn how to use the meeting website/app called Zoom. Zoom is free, simple to learn, and it will provide many hours of enjoyment, interacting with groups of people face to face.
* One thing that you can do through Zoom is play games…and if you need help, let me know. I know someone who has become an expert in this over the last few weeks…
26. “Learn” (“begin to familiarize” would probably be a better phrase) a new language through the website/app Duolingo (it is free).
27. If you have an interest, do some writing…with an eye on sharing your thoughts and perspectives. I heard someone say recently that if you have any desire to begin writing – a blog, a book – now is the time. What topic are you an “expert” in? Maybe, you are simply an “expert” in your own story, or the way in which you do life!
28. Pray. Pray personally. Pray with other people. Learn the Zoom app, and invite people to join you for a Zoom prayer meeting. I am a youth pastor – last week, I met with about 12 of my leaders, all teens, and we had prayer time. All 12 of them chose someone to pray for. We prayed for a good 20-25 minutes, and it was awesome.)
29. Call a friend and connect. Or call ANYONE and connect. In my experience over the last few weeks, almost every person I have talked to is hungry to just connect and chat. You may have no idea what an encouragement you can be to someone by just calling, checking in with them, and asking how they are doing and what they are up to.
30. Memorize a passage of Scripture. Be realistic…but start with a verse, maybe a few verses, and go from there. Memorize something that will encourage and minister to you. (A good time to review is as you are falling asleep at night.)
31. Take a hike! I live in Raleigh, and there are plenty of beautiful places to hike – woods, around water… If you need ideas, Pastor Brent Brondyke (bbrondyke@friendshipraleigh.
32. Go for a drive and “visit” with people…from 6 feet away of course. A few people have stopped by our house to just chat and catch up. They have stayed in their cars, and it has been so refreshing to see faces and hear their voices.
33. Give the people around you plenty of hope, happiness, and humor.
34. Send me your ideas! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. During this time (and during every time), it is hard to put a value on a good idea. I love to learn, and I love to share!
I heard someone say recently that, if there is something that you would like to “someday” do…if you can’t fit it in now when many of us have extra time, when will you ever get to it? (As a note, if you have a small child, or small children, take that statement with a grain of salt.)
None of us would have chosen the situation that we find ourselves in right now, but let me encourage you to be faithful and to not just survive, but to “redeem the time.” If we are healthy, let’s take advantage of the time that we have by investing into what we do have control over right now, and by giving time to some of the most important aspects and relationships in our lives.