Believe it or not, I had this blog lined up for this weekend before the days of the virus. But if ever people may need ideas of things to do in the house, it is now. So whether you have ever struggled with depression or not, here are some ideas for cheering your spirits and space.
None of these are solutions for depression, but especially in mild cases, I feel that they can help. I think that sometimes just getting the mind out of its rut of introversion can have positive results.
1. Get a Pet
I literally cannot believe I’m saying this.
And I don’t have a pet exactly, but there is Carl. If you could see the deep softness of Carl’s brilliant red down, and the sleek smooth flatness of his tail, you would understand my affection for him and his cousins
I suction-cupped a bird feeder to my kitchen window. It works out fine because I can open the window a crack and pour seed into the feeder. The birds are cautious though, and fly away if I work in the kitchen too closely to them or move to fast. Carl the Cardinal in particular, for all his bullying of smaller birds, is a complete coward.
I have stood at my kitchen window, admiring the astounding beauty of these birds close up. How amazing those feathers! How soft-looking that fine down! How beady those eyes! Even more amazing, Jesus said he sees a sparrow fall. So how could he not see me?
2. Renew a Hobby You Love
Over New Year’s, we went to the Eisenhower library in Abilene Kansas. (Okay, I know this particular item is not an “in-the-house” thing, but many hobbies can be done at home.) I spent two full days searching through archive boxes full of paraphernalia from President Eisenhower’s time in the White House, looking for traces of Thomas E. Kirkman. It was refreshing and wonderful for me to throw myself into a different world, one that makes sense to me.
3. Plan a trip
My friend and editor Sherilyn is approaching a milestone birthday. She wants to go to England, and she asked me if I want to go along. I said I can’t leave my husband that long. She said it’s fine if Marnell goes along. So that settled it, and for a few weeks this winter I did almost nothing but play with routes through England and Scotland and email Sherilyn lodging ideas.
Of course, we might not be able to go now that the world is coronavirusing. But even if we don’t, the research was refreshing and fun for me.
4. Listen to people’s stories
This is powerful. Sometimes when you see into the tragedies of other people’s lives, your eyes just open wide. I am plotting a way to share with you some of the stories that I have been privileged to hear. More on that later!
5. Re-arrange your furniture
Yes, I’m serious. Thoughts, like furniture, often seem fixed and permanent. But in a surprisingly short time, you can re-arrange them all completely. And a new furniture arrangement is oddly euphoric to me.
6. Play Sudoku or Do a Crossword puzzle.
Yes, I still have those same genes that I had on the bus in my choir tour days. My sisters and I did Sudoku at Christmastime. It was such a relief to have a piece of paper with a puzzle on it that actually came out in the end, even if they were all better at it than I.
7. Choose three things to accomplish each day.
Keep it simple. I think depression is generally an overloading of the circuits. Cutting out the fluff and limiting excess is similar to what depression medications do.
Take medications as directed by a doctor
I should have mentioned this one when I commented on physical health. I have taken depression medication before and I definitely think it is appropriate in some cases. I like to think medications can be temporary bridges for most people. But there may be cases where they need to be taken long term.
I did not mention Scripture, because I am saving that one for last. I think it is the most helpful item I can talk about. I also mentioned reading books in an earlier post.
Not counting Scripture or books of any kind, what have you found helpful to refresh your mind? Perhaps this week, if you are at home more than usual?