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Ten Ways to Beat the Shut-In Blues

Storms and difficulties of all kinds and sizes come our way. From simple gray spells or times of discouragement, to life’s big storms and even pandemics. And they can really start to get us down. A lot of life’s problems are extremely serious, like this COVID-19 that is currently afflicting the world. And it can be really difficult to not worry.

But both Scripture and life teaches that worry does no good.

It only starts a downward spiral of negativity. So while I in no way want to make light of this present emergency, I’d like to recount a little story about a time when the Lord taught me the importance of vanquishing “the blues.”

Our drippy scenery here lately is the same as that spell a couple years ago. Dark, gray, gloomy, and foggy. Only my husband, camera in hand, can seem to take such gloomy days and turn them into beauty! I can’t say that I share his talent or his optimism. I’m sun-loving by nature and these gloomy days tend to get me down. 

That other rainy spell of which I speak was a week which hadn’t even started out well, due to my own stupidity.

Because, even though for an old granny, I’m usually pretty good with technology, I managed to erase the only copies of many photos from my external hard drive and even ruin it.

And I then continued to kick myself for it over and over again. Hubby tried to encourage me, reminding me that they were only things and of no lasting value. But I’d already been trying (unsuccessfully) to convince myself of that! I even tried congratulating myself on my thorough job of digital decluttering. None of which helped.

And the gloomly continual dripping did little to lift my spirits.

Enter that gray scene: head cold and nasty sinus infection. Zero energy, and even less desire to do anything. I’d had better weeks.

And I’d been desperately needing to do laundry! No clothes dryer doesn’t usually present great problems. But we’d just gone through a week of most unusual snow. So followed by that week of rain, the situation was getting desperate. We needed clean socks and underwear!

Sunday brought a brief respite, but I wasn’t home to do laundry because we’d gone to visit friends after church. And by the time we left for home, the rain had returned. Again! 

And that’s when the Lord decided I needed an optimism booster.

As we were leaving, their 10-year old daughter Shantal, bounded ahead of us out the door. Jumping and leaping, as kids with their boundless energy, are apt to do. Especially after snacking on gummy bears, potato chips, and cookies!

Oh how nice, it’s raining!” she shouted, as though heralding some great novelty.

“Nice?” I thought? “What’s NICE about it?” Clearly her childlike optimism kept pace with her endless energy. She’s a delightful girl who seems to greet everything (even gloomy gray days) with great enthusiasm and joy.

But she made me wonder, “What’s wrong with me? I don’t usually let things or weather get to me like this.” And I realized I’d been forgetting to be grateful. Forgetting to look at the bright side. And for the silver lining in every cloud, even those of the darkest, grayest storms. So I decided to find some simple ways for beating the rainy day blues.

And during these dark days of enforced shut-in and isolation, you might want to join me in putting them into practice. Times like these can easily get us down and discouraged, but they don’t have to. We can fight back!

10 ways to keep the shut-in blues (or rainy day blues) from getting the best of you!

And help you find the silver lining in even the darkest of clouds!

Whatever dark time or storm may be getting you down, I hope these tips will lift your spirits. And that number 10, especially, will lift and restore your faith and hope in God!

1. See the bright side. ☀️

Remember that rain is good. It waters the ground, grows the crops. Makes everything fresh and new. Just as the storms of life can also bring renewed faith and trust in God.

2. Look for the silver lining. ☁️

Rain brings spring flowers and even rainbows! So remember that no trial or affliction lasts forever. The sun will shine again!

3. Work up some energy. 😅

Change of routine can bring lethargy. So work some up by cleaning house or doing a workout.

4. Brighten things up. 🌼

Light candles or put out some flowers or a pretty picture. School kids all over Italy have been putting cheery drawings of rainbows in their windows!

5. Get a new perspective. 🖼️

Try rearranging furniture, pictures, or accessories. Or even just look out the window or around the room and count your blessings!

6. Change your outlook. 📚

Grab your umbrella and take a walk (if you can). Call a friend or neighbor. Or perhaps watch your favorite movie or read an encouraging book.

7. Have a special treat. ☕

Treat yourself to some special cookies, a cup of coffee, tea, or chocolate. But not if you’re dieting; that might increase your blues!

8. Count your blessings. ☂️

It may be rainy or storming, but rejoice that you have a stout roof over your head, an umbrella, food to eat, or at least that God’s presence is always with you!

9. Drown out depression. 🎵

If you’re feeling anxious, worried, or depressed, drown it out with a nice hot bath or shower and some soothing music before going to bed to help you relax and get a good night’s rest.

10. And last but far from least: Pray and read God’s Word. 🙏🏼

The Lord longs to dwell constantly in our lives. And he promises that when we draw near to him he will draw near to us. He never changes and is always right by our side – come rain or shine, snow or heat!

Everything God sends is good.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.

James 1:7 WEB

Even cloudy rainy days. And by keeping our eyes on the bright side we too, like little Shantal, can find the cloud’s silver lining!

But (wouldn’t you know)? it was still raining the next day! Drip, drip, drip, all day long. So I thanked the Lord for the good gift of rain adding, “But if you wouldn’t mind Lord, I’d like a different good gift tomorrow.” Because well, wind and sun — they’re good gifts too, aren’t they?”

Sometimes we just need to see God’s gifts in a different light!

Every gift God sends is good. It’s just that sometimes we need to see them in a different light!

All emojis from emojipedia. | Delete key by geralt. | Graphic made on Canva. | Others are my own.

By Signora Sheila

Missionary blogger, wife, mom, nonna. Join my journey of Intentional Faith Living from my small town in southern Italy!

9 replies on “Ten Ways to Beat the Shut-In Blues”

Sheila, great ideas. We’ve had a couple of gray days–weeks. LOL. I have clear Christmas lights to brighten the house. My daughter and I enjoy baking new recipes during our time alone. And we are still exercising. But most of all, we are digging in the Word and praying. Praying for Italy. 💗

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Thanks for the prayers for Italy. We’ve been pretty hard hit with this virus. And I’m glad to see that you and your daughter keeping busy. I think that can help a lot! But it is great having more time for the Lord! Even pandemics can work for our good when we walk with God!!

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Sure-fire suggestions, Sheila, and perfect for dreary November! #4 expecially caught my attention. I can brighten up my surroundings with pictures my grandchildren have drawn and a few lit candles–for starters. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for other subtle changes, to add a bit of light, warmth, and whimsy to the gray days. Thank you, Sheila!

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Glad you liked them, Nancy! Late fall and winter are part of our rainy season here, and sometimes it can rain for days on end. It really does get pretty gloomy. It helps to remember that the Light of the world is always in us and with us. But I do find that sometimes a few extra touches can make a big difference. And sometimes, I’ll make a nice hot cup of herbal tea and call our son or daughter in America. Which also helps increase gratitude. I am so grateful that we can call for free these days! When we first came to Italy, calls used to cost $1 per minute! Needless to say, they were short and infrequent!! God is so good!

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No doubt, Robert!! I guess that would really take some adjustment for me. I’m like Puddleglum of Narnia, when trapped underground. I would probably be shouting, “The sun! I need the sun!” Although he was of course also referring to the Son. And that needs to be the regular cry of my heart!!

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