We all began the first lockdown with the best of intentions. We tried to make the most of it – perhaps trying our hand at baking, tackling 1000 piece puzzles, using the time saved from the vanished commute to go for a morning jog. Yet according to a recent study, this time around we are all feeling more fatigued, spending more time watching television or streaming films than on new hobbies.
In order to feel less fatigued, we need to feel as though we are accomplishing something. Perhaps baking banana bread or training for a marathon seems like too much, but there are still some simple ways we can not only beat lockdown fatigue but also feel closer to God. Here are our recommendations for Catholics wanting to banish that tired feeling.
With all this extra time, you may find you’ve got plenty of extra time to increase your knowledge of the faith. Learning is sure to make you feel like you’ve achieved something, leaving you with a sense of satisfaction. If you’d like to delve deep into the faith, lockdown is a great opportunity to get stuck into The Catechism of the Catholic Church which is a very helpful summary of the Catholic faith, with A Year With the Catechism alongside to help you understand and unpack it.
Learning about the faith doesn’t have to be hard, though. If the idea of reading the Catechism doesn’t thrill you, the beautifully written Christian Faith: A Mini Catechism for Catholics offers a great summary in an inspiring but easy-to-read booklet by Westminster priest and chaplain Fr Stephen Wang.
There’s been a lot of talk during the pandemic about practising mindfulness and meditation to reduce anxiety. On the other hand, Christian prayer is less inward-looking and reminds us that God has this situation under control, that He cares about us, and helps us to grow in faith and love for others. A powerful and simple method of prayer is Lectio Divina, which is an ancient practice of spiritual reading with the Bible: consider meditating on the Sunday Mass readings, or journeying your way through the Bible. If podcasts are your thing, Fr Mike Schmitz’ Bible in a Year podcast is so good it became the number one podcast on iTunes!
Praying the rosary is another great option, as it gives you the chance to talk to your Mother and ask her to be by your side and to intercede for your intentions. We love Pope Francis’ inspiring meditations on the rosary, because they give you something to meditate and reflect on – particularly helpful if your mind has a tendency to wonder!
One excellent thing that has come out of the pandemic is that many parishes have embraced digital technology in order to minister to us from our homes. This means that even if your parish doesn’t offer Mass and adoration at a time that works for you – or if your church is closed – you can still enjoy the company of Jesus from home.
The Tyburn Nuns offer perpetual adoration online, while this website offers a wide schedule of Masses from around the UK and Ireland, meaning you can go to Mass or adore the Lord after you’ve finished work in the evening, or when you’re finding things particularly tough. Making this a regular habit will undoubtedly bring so much joy and comfort to your life, while the routine will likely help you during the lockdown season of Groundhog Day.
For inspiring meditations to guide your prayer in adoration, we recommend Meeting Christ in the Eucharist or Eucharistic Adoration, while this Order of Mass will remind you what to say and when while streaming Mass from home.
While there’s nothing wrong with reading novels, it’s easy to look for escapism during this time. Reading spiritual books, on the other hand, will help you come to terms with this difficult time and bring you closer to God, while also occupying your mind in a positive and healthy way. We love the Living Fruitfully series for offering support in living the faith, while providing inspiring examples from the lives of the saints, showing where they struggled as well as the virtues they embodied. Or you can read about the saints in more detail with our vast selection of biographies, including an excellent new book on Blessed Carl Acutis.
Alternatively, you might want to take the opportunity to sink your teeth into Church Documents, such as Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium on evangelisation, Pope Benedict’s three encyclicals brought together in one book or Pope St John Paul II’s important Evangelium Vitae on the sanctity of life.
You might also find it helpful to tackle the Pandemic head-on. Our new book Seeing the Pandemic with Eyes of Faith will help you see this time through the eyes of saints who lived during particularly turbulent times, while our Finding God series will give you comfort and support if you’re struggling spiritually at this time.
Do you know the power of praying the Stations of the Cross? Meditating on the Passion of Our Lord, recalling the sacrifice He made for our sake, means more than a whole year of fasting on bread and water or making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, according to St Augustine! (Don’t forget that far fewer people were able to get to Jerusalem in St Augustine’s time!) During Lent and outside of this season, spending time recalling what Our Lord did for us is a powerful way of becoming closer to Him and is, therefore, lockdown time well spent. It also reminds us that Jesus understands our suffering; He went through it first, He knows what it is to experience the greatest of pain. He therefore has every desire to carry your burden.
If you can’t get to church or your local parish doesn’t have Stations of the Cross at the moment, you can still do it from home. We have a great selection of Stations of the Cross booklets to choose from, including stirring meditations from St John Henry Newman, Marian stations, Scriptural stations, and of course those most often used by parishes by St Alphonsus Liguori.
If you have children at home, you can pray the Stations together with these free printables from our Way of the Cross book. Print the images and place them around the house to create your own Stations-from-home.