During Coronavirus, there’s been an amazing amount of incredible Catholic media resources.
We’ve had access to live stream Masses, adoration hours, and worship music sessions.
We’ve witnessed the creation of beautiful Catholic online conferences, video resources, and digital communities.
But many of us are in Zoom meetings for work, school, and connecting with friends and family. With all that screen time, your eyes are probably pretty strained.
Your brain might be getting a little fuzzy with the high level of media consumption that’s become the new normal for most of us.
While resources for growing in faith and community are good, you (like me!) may have hit the saturation point when it comes to anything social media related these days.
So cancel your Amazon order for blue light protection glasses, log off Instagram, and spend your time doing one of these ten things that don’t require a screen!
1. Watch the sunrise every morning
If you’re looking for hope and beauty in light of the news headlines this year, look no further than the sunrise. It’s a daily reminder that the Lord makes all things new each day.
Not a morning person? Neither am I—at least not until I’ve had two (three?) cups of coffee.
So I’m making a point to stop what I’m doing in the evening and watching the sunset. Sunsets also remind me of the beauty of the world, but I can enjoy them more because I’m not looking at them through squinty, sleepy eyes.
2. Pray the Liturgy of the Hours
Many of us are in the middle of a sacramental fast, aching for the day when Mass is available to the public again. But there are some ways you can still enter into the prayer life of the Catholic Church from your own home.
One way you can do this is by praying the Liturgy of the Hour, joining consecrated religious all over the world who pray these specific prayers everyday.
You can begin with morning prayer to start your day, or pray night prayer before your climb into bed. Check out this resource for just how to begin.
3. Make more time for silence
“The greatest things are accomplished in silence—not in the clamor and display of superficial eventfulness, but in the deep clarity of inner vision; in the almost imperceptible start of decision, in quiet overcoming and hidden sacrifice,” writes Cardinal Sarah in The Power of Silence.
There’s a lot of noise right now. It’s tempting to read forty-seven articles about the spread of Coronavirus throughout the day, out of a genuine desire to stay informed. Believe me, I’ve been there.
But what we really need right now is more silence in our life. So silence the notifications on your phone for a certain time throughout the day, and enter into silence before the Lord.
4. Write some old fashioned letters
Chances are, your digital inbox is overflowing these days. So why not take a break from the screen and reach out to people through their mail box instead?
Sit down with a good, old fashioned piece of paper and a pen and write a letter to a friend you haven’t seen for a while.
Maybe you haven’t seen your neighbor for a while. Jot them a quick note to let them know you’re thinking of them and are here if they need anything.
5. Read a good book
There’s something about the feel of a book in your hands and the smell of the pages that you don’t get from your e-reader.
This week, pick a book to read and make intentional time to read. We’ve got quite a few good recommendations for books we’ve loved here at Epic Pew.
More than likely, your local library is closed and your online shipment is delayed due to the fact that books aren’t essential goods (bibliophiles disagree). If you’re in need of some good books, arrange a book porch swap with your neighbors, or stop by a community library box on your walk.
6. Get creative
There’s a reason a lot of people are baking bread in their kitchens right now. Creativity lowers stress levels and gives us a good way to pass the extra time.
So make time for trying out a new creative outlet, or tapping into something you used to do but haven’t had the time to enjoy before Coronavirus. For me, that meant dusting off my musical instruments and enjoying music on a Sunday afternoon.
Your finished product doesn’t have to look perfect. Give yourself the freedom to create for the sake of creation. When you’re done, resist the urge to get back on social media to share the results. Instead, simply enjoy the process and results without screen time.
7. Sit with Scripture
Earlier, I mentioned reading a good book. Well, this is the good book. Begin your morning by reading the daily readings for the Mass of the day.
We Catholics get a bad rap for the little time we spend with the Bible. Beat that stereotype and dive deeper into what the Lord wants to say to you through Scripture.
8. Make conscious connection choices
Connecting with family and friends looks a lot different these days. Instead of getting together at your local coffee shop or scheduling a play date, we’re all inside our own four walls.
We need human connection. But if the last thin you want to do is another video call, connect with someone over a phone call. Put them on speaker phone, and sit down on your couch and listen intentionally without any distractions.
Connection is good. Conscious connection that takes into account your screen fatigue is even better.
9. Break out the board games
I grew up in a home with over three hundred board games in our basement. I’m not kidding. Mom’s game closet rivals any board game bar out there. But what I loved about the board games weren’t the games themselves. It was the chance to connect with my parents and siblings and share laugther and memories with them.
So break out that deck of cards. Play the game of Risk or Monopoly that you never start because you don’t have time to finish it. Brush up your Scrabble skills. Still don’t know where to start? Check out these suggestions.
10. Get outside if you can
If it’s possible, spend some time outside each day. That could mean going for a walk, sitting on your front step, or laying in a hammock in your backyard.
Leave your phone at home, or put it on airplane mode in your pocket if you bring it with you.
If you’re longing for human interaction, this is a great chance to say “hello” to neighbors—all while maintaining social distance, of course.