by Michelle Delahunt
In our family, when we start to feel like we are going crazy, we let ourselves go completely crazy. We sing silly songs at the top of our lungs, we do crazy dance moves, we twitch and toss and turn and let it all out while the others stare at us like we are, well, crazy. But their turn is coming, and we will be there to stare open-jawed at them when they go off the deep end into silliness.
This brings lots of laughter, and laughter is great medicine!
Have a Routine
Seriously, there are some simple things we have found that have helped us maintain mental balance. For example, we make our beds each day. This may sound odd, but believing you have no reason to do these everyday activities causes your brain to think there is no hope, which can cause the temptation to start sliding down the funnel of thinking that your life has no meaning.
So get up, make your bed, get dressed, take care of yourself, eat a good breakfast, spend time in God’s word and don’t forget to say a cheerful, “Good morning” to another (whether it’s a person, pet, or just bird flying by your window).
Spend Time Outside
Speaking of birds, a great way to fend off depression and discouragement is to GET OUTSIDE! The days are beautiful here in New Mexico. The fresh air, sunshine, and sounds of life are all calming to frazzled nerves.
We spend hours outside each day. The kids do some of their schoolwork, we read, go for walks, ride bikes, breathe deeply, and appreciate God’s simple gifts in nature.
Depression is no stranger to our family, and research shows that exercise is a tremendous aid.
Spend Time Together
Our days used to be filled with extracurricular activities. To help with the feelings of loss and boredom, we turn off the news and do things together that we never had time to do before:
- We have a puzzle spread out in the middle of our living room.
- We take turns picking a movie to watch at night.
- We read books aloud.
- We take time to actually look at the things our kids are drawing or writing (they appreciate this much more than the usual quick, distracted glance).
- We talk about non-coronavirus things.
- We look up silly jokes and try to make each other laugh.
- We make sure we are moving and getting exercise in some physical way each day.
Last, but definitely not least, we intentionally look for ways to reach out to others. As adults, we have social media and we try to post encouraging things to those we know are feeling isolated and lonely.
Our kids don’t have this opportunity, so we have encouraged them to pick up the old-fashioned art of sending mail. As a daily writing project, they draw comics, fun or fancy pictures and write notes to grandparents, cousins, neighbors, and friends.
We also have the technology to FaceTime and try to do that with friends as well as the elderly we know who are truly alone.
We Will Get Through This!
Our days are not perfect. We have had tears, groans, complaints, and struggles. We’ve endured moments of worry, frustration, real headaches, and too much mind-numbing scrolling. But, when we find ourselves going in the wrong direction, we pull our eyes away from the screens, choose to walk outside and appreciate nature. We start listing out loud the things we are thankful for and maybe even turn on some music and start the crazy dance moves!
So we encourage you: put some of these into practice! You’ll find that letting loose and spending time together can help ease tension.