These tips apply to single retirees regardless of what’s going on in the world. Loneliness and isolation are often experienced by retirees leaving the workforce. But, until more is known about this virus, below are tips for single retirees to stay during COVID-19. Unfortunately, isolation is key to avoid getting COVID-19, especially for high-risk individuals. So, our tips offer some fun ways for retirees to interact with others from afar and ideas to maintain happiness and health during these challenging times.
Humans are naturally social creatures. And, whether our circle of friends and family is large or small, these connections are important in retirement to prevent loneliness and provide a sense of purpose. This is especially true for single retirees who live alone. Now, you may enjoy that solitude and the ability to do whatever you want to with your time. But, it does help to have a hand to hold or a shoulder to lean on, and someone to talk to and interact with on a daily basis.
Now that we are practicing isolation to avoid COVID-19, it’s important to learn new activities and different ways to combat loneliness and isolation.
Make a point to stay in touch with your friend-family. You know who they are. These connections are unique in that you choose who you want your friend-family to be. Maybe you live away from your children and grandchildren. Or perhaps you never had children. Your friend-family fills in these gaps and ensures you maintain active relationships with people near you. During COVID-19, your friend-family can be helpful running errands and grocery shopping for you so that you don’t have to get out and about.
Call people instead of texting. So much is missed through texting. You don’t hear someone laugh or cry, you may miss sarcasm or jokes. Simply hearing someone’s voice can make all the difference in the world. You can also use video chat platforms (FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom) to see each other. Zooms have become incredibly popular during COVID-19 as a way for families and groups of friends to “gather” online and visit.
Plant a garden. Gardening has great physical and mental benefits. Any gardening is considered exercise. And, experts have said for years that gardening can help promote emotional well being. A well-planted flower bed can make you happy and proud. Eating vegetables that you grew all by yourself is incredibly rewarding, as well!
Maintain physical fitness. You don’t need a gym or fancy exercise equipment to do this. Simple activities like stretching and yoga can easily be done at home alone. You can walk laps around the inside of your house and climb your stairs. And, if you don’t have dumb bells to work with, you can use cans of soup to maintain muscle mass in your arms. Take regular walks and bike rides around your neighborhood or in a state park that’s open. And, you can do that with people as long as you practice recommended social distancing! Be sure to maintain a level of activity that matches your physical health to avoid sprains or other injuries.
Get outside and enjoy the sun. This can go hand-in-hand with exercise and gardening for obvious reasons. But even if you just take time to sit outside and enjoy the world around you, you’ll find yourself in a better state of mind. A little natural vitamin D and fresh air are good for you! Look for birds and butterflies, watch the squirrels scamper about, or read a book outside on your porch. Spending time outdoors can help renew your spirits and give you a fresh perspective of life.
Join groups on social media platforms. These online groups allow you to connect with others who enjoy the same things you do. On Facebook especially—there’s a group for everyone! There are book clubs and groups for gardening, animal lovers, musicians, health and fitness, artists, writers, and even groups for happiness and motivation. This is a great way to connect with people who have the same interests as you and to make new friends.
Get a pet. Now is the perfect time to get that sweet little kitten or precious puppy you’ve always wanted. You have plenty of time on your hands to properly train them and give them all the love in the world. Pets, especially dogs, can keep you active (even when you don’t want to be!) and give you a distinct purpose. The companionship we receive from animals is unlike any other and having them around the house can help prevent loneliness.
Keep yourself motivated. Without someone like a spouse to plan things with or a dog to keep you on your toes every day, you have to motivate yourself. When you’re single, it’s easy to become isolated in retirement—and especially during COVID-19. So, this is where you have to rely on yourself to stay on track to keep your mind sharp, your body in shape, and to chase the blues away. There are thousands of self-help and motivational books available to download or have delivered to your door. YouTube features many motivational speakers’ short and long videos that can inspire you, too.
These are just a few things that can help combat isolation and loneliness for single retirees during COVID-19 and beyond. You can decide which ideas you like best that suit your lifestyle and desires. Staying connected to people in any way is important. Maintaining your happiness along with emotional and physical health is, too.