At First United, our purpose is to inspire and empower others to spend life wisely. With the increased number of adults and children staying home to avoid exposure to the Coronavirus, we wanted to share some ideas that we hope can educate, empower, and inspire each of you to spend life wisely during this time.
- Spend time in the Word – Use this time to start a daily devotional or a daily reading plan (like on the YouVersion app), or simply just reading the Bible and spending more time in the word each day. Click here for some ideas on reading the Bible cover to cover.
- Watch services via recording and/or live stream – Since we have been encouraged to practice social distancing, many places of worship are now offering services via recordings and/or live-streaming.
- Volunteer/help others in need – While we know that serving amongst a group of people is not currently an option, consider other ways you could help those in need. Offer to grab something at the grocery store for your elderly neighbor, donate any extra goods to those who may be without, etc. A little help can go a long way.
- Prayer – “When in doubt, pray it out!” There are so many people who could use our prayers. Take time each day to pray for people who are ill, people working in the healthcare industry, the leaders of our nation and businesses who are making difficult decisions each day, people with loved ones stuck in other parts of the world, people who are out of work, etc. This is also a great time to say a prayer for the health and safety of yourself, your family and friends, and each of our communities as we navigate through tough times.
- Create a budget – Did you know that only 1 out of every 3 Americans prepare a detailed budget each month to track their income and expenses? Maybe you haven’t had time to sit down and work on it, or maybe you haven’t had a reason to create a budget yet. Well now is the perfect time! First United offers TWO free online budgeting tools. Check out our budgeting tool on spendlifewisely.com, or watch this tutorial to learn how to use the budgeting tool within your online banking account and get started today!
- Find ways to make extra money – Some people might be nervous about going without pay or being short on funds during this time. Think of some ways to use your talents to make a few extra dollars! If you are staying home for a while, maybe you could offer to babysit while kids are out of school, offer to do things for others like mow their lawn, grab groceries, etc. You could also use your talents to craft/create things to sell or, in a time where everyone is cleaning, clean out those attics or closets and find items that you no longer use that you could sell.
- Make simple cuts – Another way to find and save money is by making small changes to the way you spend money. Making simple cuts like adjusting the thermostat or opening the curtains and using natural light during the day could help you save on bills at home. You could also consider cutting subscriptions or services that you don’t need.
- Free Financial courses on spendlifewisely.com – First United offers free online financial well-being courses for children, teen, and adults through our partnership with Banzai. There are more than 50 illustrated, in-depth articles, each addressing important financial topics such as: budgeting, managing debt, retirement, insurance, etc. There is also content to help with being out of work, receiving government assistance, tools like financial calculators, etc. To get started, click here to login or setup your account.
Health & Wellness
- Boost your immune system – Click here to read a recent article shared by First United’s Wellness Director on ways you can boost your immune system (sleep, exercise, food suggestions) and stay healthy!
- Enjoy the outdoors more and screen time less – Even though we have been discouraged from visiting parks or places with crowds, put away the electronic devices and enjoy some time outdoors! Encourage the kids to play in the yard, go for a family walk or bicycle ride, or maybe enjoy a picnic outside for lunch or dinner!
- Plan meals together – This is the perfect time to meal prep for yourself and/or create a meal plan for your family. You can also get creative and try making some new dishes or meals out of what you already have in the pantry. This is also a great time to sit down and enjoy dinner together as a family.
- Focus on your mental health – Times like these can be very stressful. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions. Find things that you enjoy doing to help you cope. Also, some people may be worried about being isolated for long periods of time. Use technology like Facetime or Skype to help you stay connected to your family and friends that you may not get to visit over the next few weeks.
- Cleaning – We have the opportunity, within our homes, places of work, etc. to stop the spread of germs and infection by keeping things as clean as possible. Starting with yourself, the CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol or higher. This is also a great time for that annual Spring cleaning at home! Instead of doing one day-long deep clean, try searching for free “home cleaning schedules” on Google or Pinterest to help you tackle different areas each day.
- Reading – There is a quote by Joseph Addison that says, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” In order to continue learning, developing our individual talents, and doing what we can to reach our potential, we have to exercise our minds, too! One of the best ways we can continue learning is through reading, even if it’s just one chapter a day. Click here to see First United’s recommended reading list for 2020.
- Learn something new or do something you’ve never tried before – One of the best ways to use your spare time is by learning or trying something new! Learning is a gift that is made available to us each day. Whether it is through experiences, relationships, opportunities, or taking in new knowledge, we should always embrace the chance to learn.
- Work on goals or projects – Did you set any goals or resolutions this year? Have you started a project that you haven’t gotten to finish? As we leave behind Winter and head into Spring, remember that "spring cleaning" is not limited to just our closets. Take time to review/refresh, refocus, and maybe even reset, as it relates to your goals or projects. Checking in throughout the year will help you to stay on track with what you planned to accomplish. Haven’t set goals or started any projects yet? Now is a great time to give it some thought!
- Find joy/gratitude journaling – You’ve probably heard the saying “start each day with a grateful heart.” Do you know how many benefits are tied to doing just that? Gratitude increases happiness and boosts our moods, helps with our overall physical and mental health, and so much more. Each day, write down or take a mental note of all the things (small and large) that you are grateful for. Take time to slow down and focus on what you are thankful for or what brings you joy. One of my favorite authors and personal growth gurus, Rachel Hollis, is currently challenging her followers to “find joy” each day and asking them to create a “joy list.” For the next few weeks, break up the negativity on your social media feeds by sharing pictures or thoughts around things that bring you joy. I’m sure it would bring others joy, too!
- Free educational resources for adults and children:
- TED Talks – Free online videos on a variety of topics such as technology, business, communication, personal growth, health, nature, etc.
- Minute with Maxwell - An email subscription service by the John Maxwell team that provides a series of daily coaching videos facilitated by John Maxwell.
- Marcus Buckingham video blog with 77 episodes and counting!
- Spotify podcasts like “Jay Shetty: On Purpose,” “Personal Growth Magazine Podcast with Daryl Daughtry,” or “At the table with Patrick Lencioni”
- Another free resource would be all the social media outlets that offer free content such as Linked In and the opportunities to follow key leaders that speak to you such as Simon Sinek, Marcus Buckingham, Rachel & Dave Hollis, etc.
- Stuck Inside Guide by Melissa & Doug
- Storyline Online – Watch the wonderful videos and illustrations and listen as celebrities read a variety of children’s books.
- 20 Virtual Field Trips to Take with Your Kids
- Free Educational Subscriptions – This is a list of all educational companies that are providing free subscriptions due to school closings.
- Click here for additional fun, educational, and safe websites for your children to visit and explore!
“When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be. And may we stay that way – better for each other because of the worst.” – Laura Kelly Fanucci