How to Keep Sheltering in Place Successfully

by Brie Barrier Wetherbee

How do you shelter in place? Are you climbing the walls? I have learned this skill over many years.

So many people have asked how I’m doing during the quarantine. That‘s a tough question to answer! I am in the ultra high-risk category, so my rational mind is telling me to be anxious. But frankly, my everyday life hasn’t changed much at all. I’m still in the same routine. I “shelter-in-place” as a lifestyle to protect my immune system … and I’m watching much of the world experience the quiet isolation I live in every day.

SO, I thought I’d share some of the tools I use to shape my days, handle my anxieties, and enjoy life. From a seasoned “shelter-in-place” survivor to all of you newbies out there:

1. Create a time schedule that you stick to every day. Wake up and go to sleep at the same times. Set the hours you’re going to work, to rest, to exercise, to play. Otherwise, you’ll find your days blending together in a mass of wasted time … and that leads directly to depression.

2. Start every day with prayer. Reach up and out to our Father and tell Him everything that’s on your mind … He knows anyway. Ask for comfort, peace, and the strength to face what’s ahead. Pray for your family and friends, know and share their needs. When we pray, God hears and RESPONDS.

3. Connect with people intentionally. I love having Brad home with me all the time. Good thing I married my best friend! But even before quarantine, I chased him around the house every morning, talking his ears off. We always chat on the phone when he’s driving, no matter what time of day. I also try to chat with my folks daily, and social media has been a lifesaver. When you’re in isolation, it is absolutely critical to get your mind off of yourself and onto others!

4. Move! I spend a good hour exercising every day, but because of my physical limitations, I break it up into pieces. I love to swim, to ride my “work bike”, and especially to do yoga. My brain needs those endorphins to fight off anxiety and depression, and my body desperately needs that movement to relieve pain.

5. Do something that matters. Every day. Maybe you’re able to work from home like I do, a situation I’m constantly grateful for, because I get to help ministries raise the funds they need to do what God has called them to do. But there are so many needs you can help fill right now! Maybe you could send encouraging FB messages to a few friends each day and pray for each other. Maybe you could check on elderly neighbors, making sure that they have enough food, meds, and essentials. Maybe you could FaceTime a colleague or two to chat through work things rather than just sending emails. Help combat loneliness any way you can!

6. Find or create things to look forward to … small or big. This just might be the most important tool for me! My family loves to take vacations together. Mom and I talk about possibilities for months, and I get so much joy out of dreaming. On a smaller scale, I look forward to singing in church every Sunday. Sometimes I can’t be there because of illness or pain, but I still sing all of the planned songs at home … and I LOVE it when Brad will sing with me. Movie marathons with Abby and Emmeline, working on a home project, or even waiting on a new book release are important to me. Try to plan something special for today AND for when quarantine is over.

If you’re really struggling with loneliness, fear, or depression during this time, please don’t suffer alone. Reach out to friends or family by whatever means you can … just connect with others … and if you need to chat, I’m here.

Praying for all of you daily. God is in control … and we can get through this together! Much love, Brie

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