During this unprecedented time of self-isolation, it is easy to go stir crazy and allow our situation to get the better of us. Many of us are focusing on the negative things in life. And why not since that seems to be the theme on the news.
But there is a way to change your way of thinking and find ways to make this time less trying and more enjoyable.
The thing we need to do first to get through this pandemic is changing the way we think. Most of us are inundated with all of the things we can not do, but what about all of the activities we can take part in?
How many of us have projects we’ve put off because we didn’t have time, such as:
- Home improvements
- Cleaning out storage areas
- Organizing rooms and closets
- General spring cleaning
Now is the ideal time to knock out some of these projects.
And if that doesn’t appeal to you, there is a whole laundry list of fun things to pick from, and many of them are activities you can do with others.
For many seniors who may already be feeling isolated before COVID-19, this pandemic has not aided in reducing these anxieties. However, the list of activities below isn’t about filling time. It’s about making an effort to stay connected and socializing with others.
Staying active physically and mentally comes in many forms and with endless benefits. So let’s shut down the TV and try out some of the ideas below. Likely, you will be amazed at how more fulfilling your days will become and how fast time will fly.
8 Ways to Keep from Getting Bored
- Crafts and Hobbies – Learn or Pick up
- Online Interactive Games
- Social Hour with Friends and Family using Zoom
- Read/Book Club
Crafts and Hobbies
Whether you are picking up an old craft or hobby or learning a new one, this is a prime time to start a new project.
For those who are looking to try a new hobby such as sewing, woodworking, cooking, or painting, there are many free online tutorial videos to get you started.
And since you are just starting a new project and may not have everything you need, that shouldn’t stop you. Many of the craft stores like Joann’s and Michael’s have online shopping, plus both of these stores offer a senior discount.
Not sure what to make? Check online for places that take donations. What better way to spend your time than making something for someone in need? Items like blankets for the local children’s hospital or knitting scarves and hats for those in colder regions are always needed.
Plus, depending on your project, check with friends and family and see if they want to participate in a virtual gathering like a knitting circle or woodworking forum. It might sound odd, but in today’s world, the online environment is a great way to keep connected.
If you don’t know anyone who shares your hobby hop online, there are hundreds of virtual clubs allowing you to connect with others who have similar interests.
It does not matter if you live in the colder or warmer regions of the world; gardening is an excellent way to spend your time in quarantine.
If you already have a garden, it is likely time to get it cleaned out and prepped for the coming year’s planting. And if you don’t have one but have always wanted one, then it is time to get that garden started.
Some hardware stores are offering free delivery right now, so take advantage of the situation and get everything you need delivered conveniently to your door.
And if you live in an apartment, condo, or townhouse and lack the space for a traditional garden, potted gardens are just as beautiful.
Several online garden stores can send you everything you need to plant your garden. Depending on your comfort level and garden situation, you can order seedlings or seeds to get you started.
Plus, if you are in a colder area, you can always begin with a seed kit and get the plants growing inside until it is warm enough to transfer them.
Online Interactive Games
If you are missing your weekly card night or an afternoon of chess at the local coffee shop, you can get back to it through online games. Online games allow you to play your favorite games with friends and family.
Though you may not be face to face, this is a fabulous alternative way of getting together with friends.
And there isn’t any reason you can’t enjoy a solo game either. There is every imaginable game available, and thousands you never knew existed. Plus, there are hundreds of brain games designed to aid in promoting better memory and cognitive function.
Many games are available on your phone, notebook, or computer. And if puzzles are more your thing than games, there is a whole new world of doing puzzles online. Plus, you never have to be concerned about the missing piece or finding a surface large enough to hold the puzzle.
If you’re not familiar with online games, you can go to your app’s icon on your device and choose a game to play. Also, thousands of games are free to play and come with tutorials to get you started.
For those of us who non-tech-savvy, reach out to a friend or family member, they will likely be happy to help and share some of their favorite games too.
Virtual Happy Hour
You can host a virtual social gathering or a happy hour using free programs like Zoom. Zoom and apps like it help connect multiple people. Whether for a dinner party (yes, people are doing virtual dinner parties), drinks, or to chat over coffee, Zoom can help you get together with friends and family while keeping everyone safe and healthy.
How does Zoom work? You pick your plan, most opt for the free membership, unless they are using it for business. Then you sign up with your email, Google account, or Facebook account.
Plus, you don’t need to have video capabilities, though the video option allows you to feel more connected. Zoom supports up to 100 people to be at the same virtual social gathering.
There are other virtual party options, too, like Houseparty or Facetime for Apple users.
Bonus: You don’t need to worry about drinking and driving since you will already be home.
Many of us have a list of books we want to read but never have the time to sit down and enjoy a good book. Well, you have the time now, so why not start chipping away at your reading list? And if you don’t have a book list, then it is time to put one together.
If you don’t own the book on your list, you can usually find the Amazon Kindle version, buy the book online and have it shipped, or even check with your local library.
Many of the local libraries are still open but have modified the way they do business. Instead of walking in and grabbing your book, you reserve it online then drive over for curbside pick up, minimizing your contact with others, while still getting your reading fix.
Also, if you have friends and family that love to read, you could always reach out and start a virtual book club, likely you will have more than a few people excited to join in.
Whether you previously volunteered or are interested in volunteering, it is an excellent way to spend your time. Volunteering does not always come in the form of being physically present; instead, there is often phone and computer work that needs to be done too.
If you already volunteer, check with your current organization to see if there is anything you can do for them from home. If you’re looking for a group to work with, contact your church or an organization of interest.
Also, if you enjoy crafts, you can always look for organizations that seek donations. Many of the websites will specify what they are looking for and if there are any special requirements. Making and donating items is a remarkable way to give back, without having to leave the safety and comfort of home.
If you are well enough to go for a walk, jog, or bike ride outside, then take advantage of these beautiful spring days. Just be conscious of choosing a less populated area. Avoiding outdoor parks is best, and opting instead for sidewalks and your local neighborhood will keep you from coming in contact with others.
And if you prefer to stay indoors, there are several online workout videos available on every level of physical activity. Plus, most of them do not require any special equipment.
This is also a great time to try something new like yoga, pilates, bodyweight exercises, and more.
Exercise is about more than just weight; it helps to keep your body healthy and limber, and it stimulates and promotes good mental health.
Now that most kids are finishing the school year at home, parents are beside themselves trying to keep up with their work as well as teach their children. If you were once a teacher or have a particular area of expertise, why not offer your assistance?
Imagine helping your grandkids or the neighbor kids with their history, chemistry, or even family science project. The kids and parents won’t be the only ones benefitting from your help. You will enjoy this time together too.
If you don’t know any school-aged kids, contact your local school or online tutor programs to see where you can help out.
And don’t worry, all of this can be done online.