#1: Pick up the phone and call someone you care about.
Such a traditional and simple idea! A great way to stay connected is to start a conversation with a close friend or loved one over the phone. There is no need for fancy iPad technology or confusing video-chat software links. All you need is a telephone and someone to call.
#2: Lean into your hobbies.
Looking back before the coronavirus pandemic, people had all sorts of hobbies and favorite activities to do in their free time. The pandemic may have put quite a damper on our ability to do the things we enjoyed, but with some creativity, you can work around it.
Leverage communication methods and do them together, but virtually!
For example, if you were the type to enjoy walks around the neighborhood or getting a bit to eat with friends, a great substitute would be connecting through the phone when you go on a stroll. Or, if you are able, have a video call with them.
Do the same activity, like eating dinner or taking a walk, while connected. This does not replace the same feeling as enjoying company in-person, but it is safe and you can enjoy some "face time" with your loved ones.
#3: Start a new hobby.
There is no better time to try something new than when you have so much of it in quarantine. Maybe you have already exhausted your typical hobbies and they are not as entertaining anymore. A great way to pick up a new activity is to use a current hobby as a starting point — from there, get a little creative and see what else you can do with it.
Here are some activity ideas:
- If you like listening to music, why not try learning a new instrument?
- You can start taking virtual dance lessons to move to your favorite type of music, which are available on the internet for free.
- You could also try a new art form. If you enjoy knitting or crocheting, you can learn how to embroider. Not only will you have a new skill, you will be able to make gifts for your friends and family members when you see them again!
#4: Take a trip outside.
We may have to stay socially distanced, but it does not mean we can not go outside and enjoy some fresh air, sunshine, and nature -- plus, it beats staying cooped up indoors in social isolation, and small socially distanced group activities are more viable outdoors.
Get your family together and plan a picnic. You can still see them and enjoy a nice lunch picnic at the park, but it is important to do your best to maintain a safe distance. You will get to see them in person and everyone stays safe and healthy.
#5: Give yourself a mental break: turn off the news.
The world can be a barrage of negativity -- it can feel like one bad thing after another has taken over our screens and social media feeds, and it is easy to get lost in the chaos.
One thing you can do for yourself is to shut off the TV or take a break from social media.
Instead of watching the news, put on a happy movie or show. It is even possible to watch a movie virtually together with a loved one using Skype or Zoom! Listen to music and fill your home with an uplifting atmosphere -- Spotify has premade playlists to help boost your mood. These happier-themed activities can help increase your serotonin and reduce stress levels, which is crucial during the pandemic.
#6: Take an educational virtual tour.
There are so many incredible sites to see, and you can witness them all from the comfort of your home even when the country is on lockdown. Many museums, zoos, and aquariums offer virtual tours. You can learn about art, history and science from world-renowned museums, such as the Guggenheim in New York, the British Museum or the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul!
If museums are not quite your thing, zoos and aquariums offer tours as well. Did you know the world's largest aquarium is located in the United States? The George Aquarium in Atlanta offers virtual tours and 24/7 webcams of popular animal exhibits. For the above-water animals, both the San Diego Zoo and Monterey Bay Aquarium have live feeds for a variety of animals, like elephants, giraffes and hippos.
#7: Take an exercise class online.
Staying fit and healthy can help keep up your mental health by boosting your mood. Unfortunately, gyms, outdoor hikes and group exercise activities are still risky, especially for older adults. A great way to stay in shape and get your blood pumping is to take some virtual exercise classes. There are plenty to choose from on Youtube that are suitable for older adults, or you can browse the YMCA online for different activities that get you moving.
You do not need to do heavy exercise to be healthy. Yoga, light stretches, or easy calisthenics can be performed in-home with minimal to no equipment. On that note, be sure to be mindful of your body's limitations and only do what you are comfortable with.
#8: Explore the outdoors while you're indoors.
There are parts of the world most of us will never see. From the Great Wall of China to the glaciers in Alaska, there are natural wonders that you can enjoy from home thanks to technology. All you need is a computer and an internet connection. Google offers video tours with colorful narration to help immerse you in the beautiful surroundings — you might get an idea to add to your bucket list.
#9: Do a DIY Project
If you need to expend a little more energy than a relaxing nature tour, there are more creative ways to spend your time via a DIY (do it yourself) craft project. Careful not to overwhelm yourself with a large project -- start small first! More likely than not, you might have a few things laying around that could use an update or personal touch.
A great method to update older home décor is with a new layer of paint. Mason jars work well as cups, but they also look great as vases or storage jars for personal items. With a coat of paint, you can transform it into your own.
Another idea is to get into gardening. Pick up some plants from your florist or grocery store, and use your newly painted mason jars to put them on display.
#10: Treat yourself to an at-home spa day.
Being quarantined and having to deal with the consequences of the pandemic have proven stressful on many folks.
To boost your mood and relax, plan an at-home spa day. Set aside time just for your self-care spa treatment.
Setting up your spa escape does not need to be costly. All you need is a soft, thick towel, music, and some bath products like a scrub or cooling face mask.
If you are feeling discouraged, bored or both, these are great ideas to try. You can still keep in touch with loved ones, pick up new hobbies, and look after your mental well-being.
These all just look a little different right now. It may not be easy, but with a little willpower and creativity, you can stay active and social while staying safe.