This is Modern Aging.

Wondering how you’re going to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic for 14 days, 30 days or longer without becoming sedentary or staring at an electronic screen for hours?  Try some new activities that could bring fun, excitement and even learning during this crazy time.

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly changing our daily work and lifestyle. For a period, we are being asked to work from home, stay away from restaurants and major events, and avoid contact with the public in order to protect ourselves and others. At the same time, we want to stay positive, keep ourselves motivated and enjoy life. 

There’s nothing wrong with watching television or being on the computer, except that over long periods these can have negative consequences to your health and wellbeing. Here are some activities you can try instead or in-between. Your mind and body will thank you!

  • Slow Down and Connect Within Yourself
    You may be used to filling up all your time and moving at a fast pace. With social distancing, you might now be feeling crazy or like a caged animal. This is the perfect time to take a few deep breaths, slow down and rethink the bigger picture. You might try yoga or meditation to connect with your inner calm and presence using one of many online sites or phone apps (examples: Stop, Breathe & Think, Headspace, Calm, Happify, Mindshift, Pocket Yoga, Yoga Studio, Down Dog).
  • Next, Practice Self-Care
    Once you slow down, you’re likely to be more aware of stress and how your body feels. Why not up your self-care game with a bath, stretching, or whatever feels good to you.  At the top of my self-care list are foot and hand massages that always leave a relaxed smile on my face. You could also give yourself a facial using things you might have in your kitchen such as eggs, avocado, strawberries, honey with lemon and brown sugar, tomatoes or over-ripe bananas (you’re not going to eat them anyway). You can find recipes here.
  • Get Moving and Keep Your Energy Up
    It would be very easy to give up exercise whilestaying away from gyms and group sports.  Having an inactive lifestyle can contribute to depression, diabetes, heart conditions, back and neck pain, muscle degeneration, and more.  Why not challenge yourself to work up to 100 sit ups, 20 push ups and going up and down the staircase 30 times each day – or whatever your stretch target is?  Many physical trainers (examples: Debra Atkinson, Annora Brennan) offer classes online for you to do at home, or you can search for online programs (Openfit) and YouTube videos on almost any exercise. If exercise is not your movement of choice, you can put on music and bust some dance moves. Be sure to set a schedule with the days and amount of time you will move each day, and stick with it.
  • Try New Healthy Recipes
    This is an ideal time to expand your food repertoire, replace packaged meals filled with salt and ingredients you can’t pronounce, and try making new healthy foods.  If you don’t have recipes you’ve been saving or cookbooks waiting on the shelf, check out the many online recipe sites with libraries of favorite meals and snacks (examples: allrecipes.com, food.com, thekitchen.com, epicurious.com and eatingwell.com).
  • Upgrade Your Environment
    You know those fix-it jobs or house cleaning chores you seem to never get around to completing? Well, now’s a good time to tackle them if they don’t require additional supplies. If not, it doesn’t take supplies to de-clutter your home one room at a time. You know how emails and digital documents continually pile up?  Use the time to organize your computer and delete the digital clutter that always makes it hard to find what you’re looking for.
  • Plan Ahead For New Adventures
    When I have free time, I start to dream about the places I want to see and things I want to do. Let yourself dream and then head to the computer and start planning the next trip you’ll take once the coronavirus pandemic passes. Whether in the U.S. or overseas, there are so many experiences to enrich your life. Start searching online for hotels to stay, sites to see, restaurants and new foods to try, and local tour guides if you prefer to be shown around.
  • Express Yourself Freely
    You may have a pile of books on your shelf or nightstand that have been waiting for your attention.  Now is the perfect time o break into them and even read several at once for variety. On the other hand, you may have a book or memoir that you’ve wanted to write and share with others. Let the storyteller in you be free as you outline plot lines and characters. See how far you can go writing 30-60 minutes each day.  If writing is not your thing, you might try painting or drawing, taking photos, singing or playing an instrument. Any way you express yourself can bring joy to you or your audience at home. You could even entertain strangers like the singers in Italy and Spain performing from their balconies during the pandemic.
  • Be a Lifelong Learner
    You can learn almost anything using online courses and YouTube videos. Why not challenge yourself to add a new skill or interest such as a new language, sales and marketing approaches, coaching, computer coding, or even improving your social media techniques. You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something or can give yourself credit for trying.
  • Find New Ways to Play
    You may have an instrument lying around the house you’ve thought about playing or wondered if you could be a juggler. Maybe you have a creative mind and like to make up your own games like a scavenger hunt.  Paint by numbers has been a fun and relaxing activity for me as a child and an adult. Along these lines, adult coloring books became a rage about 5 years ago. While they didn’t appeal to everyone, they did spark the child inside and helped many relieve stress and anxiety. (May I suggest Paint by Number as well? My SIL is creating beauty and loving it!)  Use whatever materials you have around the house to inspire you to draw in color or black and white. You might also enjoy an online platform to play on your own or with remote friends live, such as Rummikub Online, Quiplash, Drawful2, Bridge Base Online, or Puzzles.io.
  • Expand Your Community Virtually
    Social isolation is hard for many people to adjust to.  We enjoy our connections even more when we have to work for them.  If you miss your face-to-face interactions, you can plan coffee breaks, lunches, dinners, a book club, or even game nights (creating new rules) with your friends and family over free video platforms (FaceTime, Skype or Zoom) or free conference lines (FreeConferenceLine.com).  Even through this virus pandemic, there’s no need to give up the happy hours or coffee breaks you look forward to at the end of your day or week. Let the good times roll… even from a distance.

Stay safe and positive everybody!

Susan Rosenthal - Modern Aging

Susan is Co-CEO and Chief Operations Officer of Modern Aging. She is a businesswoman, author and coach with a mission to build global communities, eliminate stereotypes and inspire people to live authentically and fulfilled.

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