There’s an old, familiar neighbor that drops in unannounced from time to time that we all forgot about in the mid-90s. No, I’m not talking about Kimmie Gibbler or Sam from Clarissa Explains it All, but an even greater nuisance who goes by the name of “boredom”.
Whether it’s boredom, free-time, or simply a whole new reality of life that has crept its way into our day-to-day, it’s been a while since we’ve interacted with it. So, welcome to the new normal! Here in the new normal, we must be intentional to not just trade noise for noise, but establish life-giving daily rhythms. The reality is whether we are on lockdown or in the midst of our most hectic times in life, we must be intentional to daily ﬁll ourselves with what our souls needs.
So what do our souls need? I’m glad you asked!
1. Start in Silence & Solitude Before Grabbing for Digital Devices
No matter where you lie on the introvert/extrovert scale everyone needs a consistent rhythm of silence and solitude with the Lord in our lives. In fact, there is nothing that your life needs more than having a daily abiding relationship with the Lord.
This isn’t just something that benefits our lives when it is present, but there are negative effects on our souls when we are not anchored in that daily place. So, first thing in the morning, before the kids are up and things are needing your attention, create a consistent rhythm of engaging in 1-2 spiritual formation exercises. Doing this before interacting with a digital device has proven itself to be majorly beneficial.
The moment that we grab for a device like our phones, computers, or turn on the TV we bombard our brains with information that sets the tone for the rest of the day, steals our time, & increases stress and anxiety. But when we start from the place of interacting with our source of life, it gives us the true sustenance our lives need.
2. Minimize Distracters, Numbers, & News
Every day we’re surrounded by a lot of noise. There’s always a new series to watch, a sports game or practice to take our kids to, a social media app that’s screaming for our attention, and so on. These aren’t bad things in and of themselves, but they do have the ability to distract us from the rhythms that lead to life.
Social media is a great tool if you use it correctly, but extensive research has proven that if used incorrectly social media can significantly increase a person’s likelihood of loneliness, anxiety, and fear. This is something I know that I have experienced many times in my life!
Same thing when it comes to news overload. It is impossible for humans to consistently maintain a high amount of intake and for it not to manifest as worry.
We could talk about all of this for hours, but it’s incontestable: a high intake amount of entertainment, social media, and news does not add to the quality of your life. Again, these things aren’t bad, so limit your intake and invest your time into things that’ll ﬁll your soul.
3. Invest in What Leads to Life: Relationships & High-Quality Leisures
No longer engaging in your normal daily and weekly rhythms means a lot of our regular interactions look different. We are relational beings that not only need a consistent rhythm of going deep with one another, but we also need basic face-to-face interaction.
In his study, UCLA Professor of Social Psychology, Dr. Matthew Lieberman concluded through an fMRI case study that his studies “repeatedly reinforced the conclusion that our brains are wired to connect with other people…The region of our brains when experiencing loneliness is the same region that registers the pain of stepping on a LEGO”.
Here are some creative ways to invest in relationships amidst social-distancing: FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Marco Polo, Houseparty, Google Duo or Hangout, etc. Additionally, we need to regularly engage in high-quality leisures that require you to work your body and your brain. High-quality leisure is the true deﬁnition of Arts: painting, playing an instrument, etc. and Crafts: reading a book, learning a language, something that requires you to physically work and use your hands, etc.
Our brain and body are a conglomerate of muscles and muscles need to be worked or they grow weak. Here are a few suggested high-quality leisure actives: hiking/walking/cycling, reading a book, gardening, practicing or learning a language/instrument, ﬁnishing a project around the house, etc.
4. Get Outside
It’s simple but so beneﬁcial. Not only is this a way to help reduce cabin fever (cue the scene from the Muppet’s Treasure Island), but there are also signiﬁcant health beneﬁts to it too.
Go on a walk, sit on your patio or porch, and breathe it all in.
For some, this might be the ﬁrst time you’ve engaged in implementing intentional daily rhythms. For others you might be adjusting the intentional daily rhythms you already have in your life.
Maybe you’re somewhere in-between.
All I know is as you engage in these for practices on a daily basis you will begin to see your mind, body, and soul beneﬁt tremendously. Praying the Lord continues to reveal Himself to you more and more and in this time of uncertainty that you would lean into who He’s shaping you to be.