We hear the moans of the extroverts, the pain of the parents. Yes, we have to stay home, but we don’t have to feel down about it. City News lists some meaningful and positive things you can do during this period of working from home or self-isolation for different purposes.
It’s April 1 today, but we can only wish this whole COVID situation was a joke. This past week, Singapore went into a kind of semi-lockdown. Entertainment centers like movie theatres and KTV chains have closed their doors to the public for a month. Tuition and enrichment centers have also suspended all classes. With social distancing rules in place, most eating places and restaurants are only allowed to fill half their seating capacity. Even schools are affected: today, almost every parent with a primary school kid is working from home because it’s the first day of home-based learning.
And there are those who are experiencing a Quarantine Order, a Stay Home Notice and or taking a Leave Of Absence because of varying degrees of exposure to the coronavirus. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.
In this season, home is truly the best and safest place to be. But for those who lead an active lifestyle catching up with friends after work or, for City Harvesters, meeting cell group members for fellowship, staying home to avoid and prevent the spread of the virus can be a challenge mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
But don’t fret—this period also offers you the perfect opportunity to do some fruitful and meaningful things. Here are eight:
1. Keep Calm And Read The Word Of God.
We’re in the season of Lent, and if you haven’t been following the Lent 2020 Bible reading program on The CHC App, now is as good a time as any to get started. You will enjoy the meaningful devotions written by CHC’s pastors.
Parents, with all the ballet, piano, tuition classes canceled at this time, why not get your kids to follow Harvest Kidz’s Bible-reading plan as well? The Harvest Kidz pastors and teachers have prepared weekly online Bible lessons for your children—with quizzes and prizes to be won! Check out their Facebook page and Instagram to find out more.
2. Prayer And Meditation
During City Harvest Church’s online services, senior pastor Kong Hee has been showing the church how Jesus prayed. He taught that Jesus meditated on Scriptures when He prayed and we should do the same.
If you have never done it before, it might be a little awkward at first. I find that the best way to start is to take a Bible verse and begin to memorize it. As I repeat the verse in my head, I start to pray the verse over my situation. When I form some thoughts in my mind, I write them down. Some of that stuff becomes my revelation, my rhema word from God. Like every new skill, it takes a little practice to get it right.
CHC member Rosalind Thor was served a Stay Home Notice (SHN) after a trip to visit her husband, who works in Thailand. Prayer and meditation have brought them comfort.
“Initially, the thought of serving SHN deemed to be scary and daunting, having the thought to be in total exclusion from the world, and being cooped up at home,” she says. “However, it has been a blessing. God gave me this time to reflect, pray and find time to seek Him. The Holy Spirit prompted me in certain specific areas to improve my relationships with my family and friends and develop closer bonds.”
Rosalind shares that “God reminds us, time and time again, that we have been through worse trials, and that nothing is impossible with Him.” Though physically separated, she and her husband Wee Shiong, who is also experiencing lockdown in Thailand, “pray, meditate on God’s word and encourage one another.”
For this couple, Hebrews 13:8 is a verse that they draw strength from: “It says, Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever,” says Rosalind. “Therefore we can trust in God to take us through this difficult journey because He has done it before and He will do it again. So we cast all our cares unto Jesus, because He knows it all, as Psalm 147:5 says.”
3. Learn A New Skill Online
Speaking of new skills now might also be a good time to learn one. If you find yourself scrolling through Pinterest at night saving crafts and recipes that you never have a chance to try, the time has come to dig out those treasures. It doesn’t have to be just craft or cooking, it can be some tutorial you saw on YouTube, online courses or new apps you always wanted to test out but never had time.
Emerge youth Shannon Chiang, 14, decided to try creating the trendy Dalgona Coffee, a frothy coffee milk drink. She shot a video of her attempt and her video is currently on social media platform Tiktok, attracting 25,400 views at the time this story was written.
“So i saw videos on Tiktok and Instagram about this coffee-making trend called Dalgona coffee, which is basically made of milk with coffee on top. I thought it was interesting and fun so I gave it a try and little did I know my video would trend on Tiktok,” she said.
“I grabbed all the ingredients i could find—instant coffee, sugar, hot water, milk—and started to make the coffee. I took a video while making it for my own content, and I thought it turned out really well so I posted it. When I came back to the app, I discovered that my video was trending. The coffee is really nice because it’s sweet and it is served with milk—I really enjoy too.”
Inspired by the success of her Dalgona Coffee, Shannon started researching drink recipes to create. “I did a berry acai shake and a pina colada—they weren’t as nice as the Dalgona Coffee but still worth trying. I realised how much I enjoyed making beverages and how it can really relieve stress.” She plans to conduct more such “experiments” and “I’m even going to try food dishes, starting with cookies.”
4. Read A Book
Another way to let your imagination carry you to another city is to read a book. So many people say they have no time to read a book—well, now they have no excuse.
So you can’t (or would rather not) go to the library or bookstore, but there are many resources online. If you have an account with the National Library Board, you have their whole e-book archive at your disposal.
Audible Amazon has opened up its archives for free for the little ones. Simple go into their website, choose an audiobook and let the stories keep your children occupied for a while.
Kris Vallotton, a senior leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California, has made his book Spirit Wars available for free as an e-book on Amazon, Google, and Apple. What’s even better is that he is conducting a four-week Spirit Wars devotional with videos and discussion questions, directly sent to your email when you sign up. Visit www.krisvallotton.com/spiritwars for more details.
5. Work Out At Home
One way to keep the immunity up is to exercise and stay healthy. YouTube is a treasure trove with many videos on workouts you can do at home. Best of all, they are free!
Preschool teacher Sandra Joy, who is also the cell group leader of E559, was given a Leave Of Absence (LOA) after she returned from Johor Bahru during the March school holidays. The Ministry of Education and Early Childhood Development Agency had issued a mandatory LOA for educators and students who returned from overseas after March 14.
“Before COVID I used to run at the waterfront, or do a stairs workout, or swim,” she says. “But since the LOA, I haven’t been able to go out or walk about much. Not being active makes me feel restless, so I decided to start doing the Insanity workout, which I can do in the safety and comfort of my own home.”
Insanity is a high-intensity interval training program that requires little or no equipment. The participant follows instructions from a video where the instructor shows how moves are executed.
“It takes just 30 minutes a day and I get a good workout that leaves me feeling energized and motivated to finish my work for the day,” says Sandra. “It also takes my mind off not being able to leave the house.”
6. Encourage Each Other Via Social Media
When the world was normal, it was a bad idea to be surfing social media all day. Some even consider it a toxic habit. But in these times when we can’t meet our friends face-to-face, technology allows us to check on them and connect with them through social media.
And if you notice some negative posts, or maybe one of your friends has gone off the radar, why not call them on the phone? Some people don’t do so well completely isolated at home, or they could be experiencing anxiety and have no-one to turn to.
7. Organize Your Life
Organizing is usually the last thing on our list. Who has time to sort stuff out when we are busy saving the world? But since the new way to save the world is by staying home, why not sort through that pile of clothes you’ve always wanted to donate? Or clean out a cabinet or dust some forgotten corners of your home?
Maybe it’s “My Document” and Dropbox that needs major attention? Are there photos on your phone you need to backup and sort into folders? Or junk mail that you need to unsubscribe?
This could also be a good time to take stock of your life. Are you letting in too much negativity into your life and mind? Is it coming from the people you follow on social media? Maybe it’s time to unfollow those toxic accounts and start following some positive, uplifting people who help you to renew your thoughts, Biblically and otherwise.
8. Take A Chill Pill And Rest In The Lord
The great outdoors awaits. Take a walk in the park, sit down at the beach and listen to the waves, let the children run wild at the playground — all good as long as there are few people around and everybody keeps a safe distance of at least one metre.* Getting connected to nature has the wonderful effect of easing anxiety. It’s a great time to tend to your balcony garden or window herbs. With the Temporary Measures Act in place, one thing you can do is to go alone or with family members of the same household to get some exercise near your home. The former German chancellor Konrad Adenauer once said “We all live under the same sky, but we don’t have the same horizon.” Our take on this is: We may not have the same horizon, but we all live under the same sky. So look up when you’re feeling down or suffering from cabin fever, and rest in the Lord.
It is true that your usual routine has been disrupted and you may be feeling empty on the inside, but it is essential not to let loneliness and negativity take hold of you. Why not gain a different perspective: this is the perfect chance to rest and get to know yourself again. Who are you without your work, when you’re left alone and nobody’s around to judge you? What would you like to do now that you have a chance to rest?
As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”
*Article edited on April 10 to reflect updated COVID measures. Please check https://www.gov.sg/ for the latest updates and changes.