Ah and here we are again, just about a year later, finding ourselves once again in a situation that has now become all too familiar.
For some this means more baking, whilst for others this means pulling longer hours at work as they fight to keep people safe and well. For the introverts in the world this may seem like a slice of heaven, but for those who are extroverts like me, you may be starting to feel a little stir crazy.
Whoever you are, and whatever your situation might be, being stuck at home can be challenging, and it is essential that we learn to protect our mental and physical wellbeing during this time.
Imagine you were in a boat. We are lucky these days that boats are designed to withstand certain weather conditions, however if you have watched any sea related movies, you will often see the crew having to ‘prepare’ the boat before they face the eye of the storm.
Likewise, I think we all need to understand that we must prepare to protect our mental and physical health as we get back once again into a routine of being at home. Not just for our own health and wellbeing, but also for our crew members, family that are onboard too.
I have recently been reminded of the passage in Mark chapter 4 where Jesus calms the storm. In fact, he would’ve slept straight through it if it hadn't been for his disciples waking Him up in panic.
God is in control
So to begin this checklist, let's start with the first and most important thing- understand that God is in control and there is nothing to fear.
Though this may be frustrating, God has bigger and better plans for this situation. So much so, that even in the eye of the storm, Jesus was able to sleep peacefully knowing that everything will be okay because God is still in control. Therefore, firstly, know that God is in your boat. This too will pass.
Secondly, know the routine. Put in place a routine. Days can become a blur if you do not have a routine in place for yourself. One day you are waking up at 7am the next day you are waking up at 2pm. All of this accounts for bad sleeping habits which are not helpful when trying to look after your mental and physical well being.
When facing the storm, crew members know where they have to go at what time and what they need to do to get the boat ready, therefore, make sure you set yourself a time to wake up, to sleep and to exercise. Ensure that others in your boat have also done the same.
Next, being a crew member can be a physically taxing activity. Therefore ensure that you are exercising daily. This helps keep you on top of your game during the storm, but also ensure that you don't fall into unhealthy habits like being a couch potato when at home.
Exercise for 30 minutes a day, maybe get outside and get some air. Good ole vitamin D is a sailor's best supplement, courtesy of the sun of course.
Fourthly, ensure that you are eating the right meals. The only way to get the energy you need is to feed yourself the right foods. Being bored and stuck at home can lead to eating junk and whatever is in the pantry or fridge. You may not know it, but this can lead to you feeling unmotivated and lethargic.
Therefore, eat the right foods so that you can have the energy to exercise, have a routine and do your job or pick a hobby. Feeling unmotivated and lethargic can also make you unpleasant to your crew mates - you do not want this as they are in this with you for the long haul.
Furthermore, sailing is a team sport. Just like being stuck at home is. It is vital that you stay connected to your crew, both those on board and those who may be in a different boat. Whatever this may look like for you, whether it be a family dinner together, board games, zoom calls or splitting up the jobs around the house.
Ensure that you are surrounded and actively engaging in time with others. Isolate but don't disconnect. This is really key to protecting your mental health during this time.
Similarly, look out for crew members in your boat and those in different boats. Some crew members might be struggling, ensuring that you are there for them to listen, to stay connected and to support them as they try to navigate the storm they are facing.
Next, take the time to enjoy and be grateful. This can be really hard. But the trick to a healthy mind is a healthy mindset. Practice gratitude daily in order to keep on top of your mindset during this time. There is plenty to be grateful for, stay clear of being tunnel visioned on the situation.
Get a hobby
Often crews can spend days or even months on board their boats. This is a long time with just crew jobs and sailing to do, often they have other things that they like to do.
Likewise, get a hobby. Pick up that book that has been sitting on your shelf collecting dust, try an instrument, fix a shelf, renovate your lawn. Whatever it may be, find something new to sink your teeth into and to challenge your brain.
Listen to the right sources
Next, in order to make sure you are doing the right thing and to prevent stress, the crew listen to the radio with someone designated conveying messages. Similarly, ensure that you are listening to the right news sources, try to stay away from people posting their assumptions and opinions.
Lastly, make time to rest, after a physically taxing exercise the body and mind need to rest. So often we Jesus retreat to be alone and to rest in the presence of God. Likewise, ensure that in your routine you have carved out time to rest, to sit with God and to be affirmed that He is in control of your boat and you do not need to be afraid.
How many of these things can you check off the list today crewmate?
- Knowing that God is in your boat
- Have a routine
- At least 30mins of exercise
- Eat a well balanced diet
- Stay connected to your crew
- Look out for crew members who are struggling
- Take time to be grateful
- Find a hobby, or something to challenge your brain
- Listen to the right sources, stay away from opinions and assumptions
- Make time to rest
Araina Kazia Pereira from Wellington, New Zealand is a published writer having written for various outlets and most recently joining as a Press Service International young writer. She enjoys asking the big questions and writing about the challenging questions that she has wrestled with in her own journey, as well as her learnings along the way. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.