Quit Being Bored During Quarantine

What to do during quarantine shut down
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I know rural living - especially when you're homesteading - is different. I've lived in the heart of New York City and I've lived in the suburbs, too. But I admit to being surprised that during the COVID-19 pandemic so many people are lounging around on social media feeling bored and useless. Can I be completely transparent with you? Please don't bash me too hard, but I believe these feelings of boredom largely stem from a self-focused point of view. If we can turn that focus around, I think we'll all find our time in quarantine "shut down" much more pleasant. Here's how I think we can do it:

1. Seek First...

In Matthew 6:31-33, Jesus spoke about worry:
"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
One easy way to "seek first the kingdom of God" is to immerse yourself in God's Word. Make sure you're reading the Bible every day. Read different translations of the same chapters, for deeper understanding. (If you only own one version of the Bible, Bible Gateway is a good online resource for all the versions.) And while you're at it, deepen your prayer life - there's no more meaningful way to spend your time!

If reading the Bible is a new thing for you, now is the perfect time to see "what all the fuss is about." I recommend a Bible with a commentary - not to tell you what to think, but to provide historical context. I know that for myself, understanding the history and society of the people in the Bible gave me a much better understanding of God's Word. The commentary Bible I used was The Student Bible. But rather than delay while you wait to get your hands on that, check out free Bible commentaries online.

2. Help Others
Courtesy National Cancer Institute.

Initially, it might seem you can't help others (outside of your immediate family) if you're confined to your home. But we're all allowed to go out for groceries and other basic supplies. Why not volunteer to go into town and shop for the elderly or for others who are high risk for serious complications if they catch COVID-19? Just use caution and don't pass along germs with those needed supplies: Wash your hands, wear gloves, disinfect the items you give, leave items on the doorstep and then step away until you're sure the person in need has removed the items from their porch, etc.

That said, the number one way we can help others is to STAY HOME and not spread germs. True unselfishness does not decide "God will take care of me" and then proceed to infect other people. My kids and I have been reading the book of Nehemiah, and we noticed that even while the Israelites were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem under duress from surrounding communities, they proclaimed "our God will fight for us"...and worked with swords in their belts and lookouts everywhere. So, too, we can trust God yet take simple measures to protect others from this virus.

3. Sew A Little

I admit I feel a little pang of jealousy when I see folks in my sewing and quilting groups making all kinds of fun, frivolous projects during this shut down...but I personally just don't have the stomach to sew frivolous things when medical facilities in my area are asking for home-sewn masks and gowns. Why not call your local hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, and any other local organizations you can think of and see what they might need? Just as we saw during WWI and WWII, a citizen "army" can accomplish a lot of good.

(P.S. Home sewn masks that follow the CDC's guidelines are being used in non-COVID-19 cases, to help preserve "the good stuff" for Coronavirus cases. If worse comes to worst, fabric masks can be worn over N95 masks to help extend their life. Studies show fabric masks are up to 50% effective... IF USED CORRECTLY.)

4. Teach Your Children Well

A lot of parents aren't sure what to do now that their school-aged kids are home all day. My best advice is to teach them life skills! Not only can this be a wonderful opportunity to connect with your children, but frankly, too many kids don't know the stuff they need to know in order to "adult." Ideas include: household chores, cooking and baking, balancing a checkbook, reading a map, shopping skills (like how to find the best price or make a meal plan), time management, budgeting, reading a food nutrition label, manners and etiquette, checking and changing the oil in a vehicle, creating a resume, interviewing for a job, sewing on buttons and basic clothing mending skills, and starting a garden.

For additional ideas, see the "Chores for Kids" and "Homemaking 101" sections of this blog.

5. Start a Victory Garden

And while we're talking gardens, there is no better time to start one! During the world wars, Americans grew Victory Gardens designed to help the whole nation survive by feeding one family at a time (and helping their neighbors, too). Don't have a lot of room? Grow few things in pots on your porch! Start your garden today and give a little food security to your family and community.

For help, see the "Gardening 101" section.

6. Learn a New Skill

Are there things you wish you knew how to do? Now's the perfect time to learn to: cook from scratch, sew, knit, crochet, garden, woodwork, preserve food, forage for wild food and medicine, make cheese, make yogurt, learn to start a fire, compost, and so on.

Check out "Canning 101," "Canning & Preserving," "Cheesemaking," Making Yogurt, "Composting," "Foraging," and "Herbs."

Maybe the something you want to learn is not a hands-on activity; if that's the case, you can read some good books on the topic: Learn about a certain time in history, economics...whatever interests you.

Either way, once you learn...who can you teach?

7. Be Still

Something our society is terrible at is being still. Most people are used to rushing around here and there, keeping busy with daily tasks. Many people are not used to being alone with their thoughts.  What if God gave us this moment in time to force us to be still and focus on the bigger picture? That bigger picture includes thinking more of others, thinking on eternity, and learning to trust God. "Be still, and know that I am God."  (Psalm 46:10)

In short, friends, there is a whole lot more in quarantine than stream Netflix and play video games. Don't waste this precious, unique time you have. Use it to it's fullest advantage!

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