Since my family and I began our minimizing journey a few years ago, we have learned the serenity that comes from slowing way down and living a much simpler, quieter life. A big benefit of that has been that we spend a lot of time together at home. It is where I am happiest, and I absolutely love staying in, cooking homemade meals, baking, playing music and singing, and being entirely present with and for my family.
This current “lockdown” situation feels a lot more normal to us than it would have a few years ago, and I don’t think I could ever, in a million years, become bored or feel the symptoms of cabin fever.
I don’t know how it is where you live, but where we are, things outside are sort of screeching down to a halt, and mostly everyone is staying in and avoiding public places as much as they possibly can. It is just good common sense to do that right now.
Since COVID- 19 is dictating that we stay home as much as possible, why not embrace the mindset of a simpler life and view this as an opportunity to focus on being productive, positive, and proactive in accomplishing things we may have been putting off, due to busy schedules that kept us outside the home?
Here are some productive ways to stay positive and enhance simplicity during the Coronavirus “lockdown.”
Think about a drawer, closet, crate/container, cupboard, or surface area in your home that is a continual source of stress for you and start there. What about it makes it stressful? Is it a messy area? Does it make you feel ashamed when outsiders enter your home and see it? Clear away everything you don’t want, need, use, or love from that area. Put those items in a box, remove it from the room, and store it somewhere out of sight, like a garage, basement, or shed. If you don’t think about the items during the course of a month or so, get the box out of your home, into the trunk of your car, and delivered to an outside destination.
2. Make that phone call you’ve been putting off.
You know, the one you never quite get around to. Maybe you know it will be a long-winded one, so you never have enough time to devote to it. Perhaps you know it will be emotionally draining, so you keep avoiding it. Now is the opportune time to pick up the phone and dive in. Give that person your full, unlimited attention. Make them feel they are the only person in the world. Listen to them and hear them out for as long as they need to talk. You just never know how much they may need you or what it might mean to them to know you care enough to make them a priority. Just do it.
3. Fill out that card you’ve felt prompted to send.
You know, the one you bought a while back with a particular person in mind, but just never got around to exerting the energy required to let your pen convey your heart. We are so used to doing everything online and through a keyboard, we are losing the beautiful art of handwritten communication. You don’t know what may be going on in that recipient’s world and going to their mailbox and finding your heartfelt words may be just the shot of courage they need to keep pressing on. Put aside your laptop and go fill out that card.
4. Finish that project you’ve never had time to work on.
You know, the one that nags at you each time you look at it. It’s time to shush the nagging voice and face it head-on. Dig in and do a little at a time until you are completely finished. Imagine the feeling of relief and accomplishment you will feel to know you have seen it through to its fruition.
5. Spend that quality time you’ve been intending to spend.
Let’s face it. Marital relationships drift apart when they are neglected. Children grow up way too fast. Shower them all with love and unrivaled attention. Put away electronics and play a board game as a family. Set aside time to sit in your child’s room and listen to them talk about what’s going on in their life. Work a jigsaw puzzle together. What a great opportunity to cook a homemade from scratch meal, try out a new recipe, or make your family’s favorite dessert!
6. Clean that area that has been far too long neglected.
Few things are more rewarding than to know that a spot in your home has been deep cleaned, and not too many things can make you feel more productive. Now that you have some extra time cooped up inside, break out the cleaning supplies, and get to work!
7. Enter into a posture of calm stillness.
As the world outside reels out of control, lean into the blessing of being inside your own space where you can control what sets the tone and atmosphere. Turn off the noise. Stop listening to the news 24/7. While it is wise to stay well-informed, it is not necessary to hear and obsess over every hypothetical and worst-case scenario. I’m not advocating burying our heads in the sand, nor am I minimizing the seriousness of COVID- 19 and the stark reality of other threats, but many of the things we dread never happen, and what we allow our minds to feed upon has a far-reaching impact on our own wellbeing. Fill your mind with encouragement, pray, meditate, and practice gratitude.
Take this time of inaction to assess where you are in life and identify things you need to change when life resumes a sense of “normalcy.” Setting goals is very gratifying and will feed your need to feel that you are accomplishing something meaningful.
Keep the faith. There are brighter days ahead!
About the Author: Cheryl Smith is the author of the blogs Biblical Minimalism where she writes about minimalism from a Biblical perspective and Homespun Devotions where she writes devotionals and conducts “Inner Views.”