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Mental Wellness In Ministry Or Quarantine: Seven In-The-House Interventions

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?

Not as sleek as my friend Carl. But otherwise very like! Thanks to Chris Chow on Unsplash.



20 thoughts on “Mental Wellness In Ministry Or Quarantine: Seven In-The-House Interventions”

  1. Angie Berkshire

    I’m loving the things I’m reading. I must say… I feel a little at an advantage. I live at camp, and we have 800 acres. We haven’t been stuck at home but we definitely have changed our lifestyle a bit down here. Anyway… to the point!!! Nature… nature does it for me every time. Unfortunately, not everyone has the advantage of a large variety to choose from in their area. There is just something so healing about going to a waterfall, hiking a trail, sitting on the top of a mountain, etc.!!!

  2. I love you’re idea for a pet. Wild pets are the best. You don’t need to worry about them when you go on vacation. You don’t need to take them to the vet. They won’t die if you don’t feed them. Very low maintenance.

  3. House plants, beauty, arranging decor. I’m just learning to watercolor and letter quotes or verses, and both the process and the product are helpful. I throw wheat and cracked corn on my wide windowsill, but these days it mostly ends in me grumbling about the selfish domestic pigeons. 🙄 Music, even children’s music, is often soothing. And we love little variations from the routine—breakfast for supper, lunch on the veranda, a conversation question to work on together. We’re on “house arrest” until otherwise noted, so this is quite relevant.

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      I love those ideas, especially “variation of routine.” Maybe that’s what I love about rearranging furniture!

  4. Be honest with your friends/family or whoever your “people” are. If possible, go out for coffee or get together. Good people, who support/encourage me are so vital to my mental health. They are Jesus with skin. ❤️

  5. I don’t care to move furniture around (isn’t as is the best way it can be arranged!? =) but I do like to clean and organize, and it always amazes me how much fresher my mind feels.

  6. I enjoyed your list. I like # 7. Keep it simple but have a few goals. I find it helpful to do something for someone else. Getting my mind off myself is important. I like the thought of moving the furniture in my brain to get fresh perspective 😄

    1. Katrina Hoover Lee

      😀 Yes, helping others is ways a win. I think that topic was the focus of the first blog in my series.

  7. Certainly not potty training. I decided now is the time to tackle this business, considering everything extracurricular is canceled. Even tho it is going superbly, I still think about bodily functions far too often to promote mental health. The child, too, is tired of this and wearily started crying when he woke up and saw where he was headed, saying, “All done potty.” Maybe I should buy each of us a puppy.

  8. Thank-you Katrina. These all sound like good ideas in any circumstances. Recently I got a creative Bible as a gift and this past week I took a little time to color in it. It always surprises me how much coloring relaxes me and helps me get into a better frame of mind. The one on moving furniture made me smile. My mom is always moving things around, much to some people’s frustration sometimes. 🙂

  9. I would say prayer and singing help me alot..or listening to music.. sometimes it’s Acapella groups or sometimes it’s contemporary if I need reminded how Great God IS!!😃 And of course Sewing comes in there sometimes, or doing something for someone else..

  10. I consider number one very essential. Especially because I had 13 Sheltie Puppies to rehome.😉😄 And I rather like having a pet around. As for Sudoku, you score again! My husband likes to tease me that those puzzles are designed to cause mental illness. 😆 (Those games are something he hasn’t mastered….. yet. ) He read the blog before I did and he said, “So that is why you play Sudoku. “😊😊

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