Now that so many of us are under stay-at- home orders due to Covid-19, we may actually have a little extra time on our hands—especially those of us who no longer have little ones at home. I know that those mamas (and dads) are very busy supervising distance learning, preparing several meals a day for their crew and planning outdoor activities to keep everyone from going stir-crazy. You may actually have less time than you did before the pandemic. And, I know that many of you are essential personnel continuing to go to work every day—some on the front lines of the battle against this terrible virus.
But, for those of us who do have some extra time and are stuck at home for what might turn out to be many weeks, here are a few ideas to help us make the most of it:
- Learn to play an instrument. Do you have a musical instrument lying around gathering dust or a piano or keyboard at your home? Have you always wanted to learn to play the piano? If so, why not take advantage of the many websites/apps that teach you how to play an instrument right there in your home. It’s as easy as googling “How to play the piano”. You’d be amazed how far you can get in a few weeks. I am a pianist but have always wanted to play the violin so, I intend to pull my daughter’s violin out of the closet and look up some “virtual” lessons. If you don’t have an instrument lying around, perhaps a family member or neighbor has one that’s not being used that you can borrow.
- Research your family tree. I have been a member of Ancestry.com for quite a while now and have really enjoyed researching my family roots. Since being home due to Covid-19 I have made a lot of progress, tracing my family all the way back to the 1600’s. There are other sites, as well, such as Myheritage.com and others, Most are very user friendly. It’s fun to learn the countries where your family originated. Mine are mostly from England, Germany, France, and Switzerland.
- Begin exercising or “up” your exercise game. Take this opportunity to become a more regular exerciser. Through word of mouth I have found online “Zoom” and “Facebook Live” exercise classes of all kinds–toning with weights, stretching, Zumba, yoga, etc. Also, remember, “outside” is not closed! Go out and enjoy nature. Take a walk, hike, or bike ride.
- Take up a new hobby such as painting, cooking, or gardening. You may have to order your supplies for some of these things online, of course, as most non-essential stores are now closed.But I can attest to the fact that Amazon and USPS deliveries are still happening, and if you haven’t tried it, online ordering is super easy.
- Play board games as a family. Family game night is one of our favorite things! It’s so rare in today’s busy, activity-packed culture to just sit across from each other and interact—to communicate without constant interruptions or having everyone on their phone. This is especially great for those of us who have high school and college kids at home with us right now. (Older kids may tell you they don’t like playing board games, but secretly they do!) And even older kids need their parents’ undivided time and attention.
- Keep a journal. These are unprecedented times in which we live. Some day, the world will need to know what day-to-day life was like for you during this pandemic. And if not the world, then future generations of your family. It can be handwritten or done on your computer. Just save your personal story for posterity. Be sure to include the blessings you experience as God walks through this season with you and your family. The blessings are there, believe me (!), you just have to look for them.
- Deep clean your home. I know, this one isn’t fun…unless you get joy from organization like I do! But just think of how marvelous you’ll feel in a few months when you open your linen closet to find all the towels and sheets folded in matching sets and organized by color! You might just jump for joy! Seriously, how long has it been since you climbed up on a chair and wiped the top of your refrigerator? Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.
- Write encouraging notes, cards or letters to someone who needs it. Many people are suffering through sickness, depression and loneliness during this time. An encouraging note from someone who cares could really make a difference to them. Maybe you could send a note to a family member who is unable to be with you due to travel restrictions. Or how about those in nursing homes who are currently not allowed to have even their family come for visits. Another idea is to write a note of encouragement to healthcare workers at your local hospital. It’s hard to imagine having to go to work in full protective gear and still have that gnawing fear that you may be bringing something home to your family. There are so many who could use encouragement right now. All it takes is a pen and a card or note.
- Start a home-based business. I know, this is a big one. But, if you have ever wanted to do this, now may be the time. By the time you get all the kinks worked out our country will be up and running again! Perhaps you could think of a business that addresses a new need that we’ll have post-Covid-19.
- Spend concentrated time reading the Word of God. (I saved the best for last!) Before the recent “stay-at-home” and “social distancing” orders, most of us had trouble finding time for prayer and Bible reading amidst our busy schedules and long “To Do” lists. We would wake up in a rush, gulp down our coffee and promise ourselves we would get to it later—but later almost never happened. Take this opportunity to dive deeper into God’s Word and truly learn who he is. Spend time in prayer—there is certainly plenty to pray about in these difficult days. There are many great online devotionals/Bible studies and apps that you can use if you’d like something to help guide you in your study. The point is to use this little bit of extra time to strengthen your relationship with the Father through prayer and the study of His Word.