The coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone, regardless of our age group. Whether we realize it or not, we’ve probably all experienced the pandemic blues. We are unable to socialize like we used to; we have lost loved ones; we’ve lost jobs and livelihoods. Even if we haven’t lost anything but the ability to socialize (normally), it is not uncommon for us to feel fear and anxiety on a daily basis. Isolating ourselves, even if it’s for the greater good, doesn’t bode well for anyone’s psyche. So, we can all use a few tips on how to beat the pandemic blues.
This is especially important for retirees and seniors who are susceptible to loneliness and isolation as they age anyway. In a pandemic—specifically the current COVID-19 pandemic—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the senior age group is far more likely to become hospitalized or to die from COVID than other age groups. That’s a sobering fact that can only compound fears and add to our stress.
The good news is, according to Psychology Today, the latest research shows that older adults are proving to be more psychologically resilient throughout this pandemic. Studies have shown older adults are more adept at dealing with tragedy, trauma, and life-altering events than younger generations.
However, every one of us have unique circumstances. More people seem to be under a lot of stress due to economic uncertainty and other life-changing factors the pandemic has caused, which is what prompted us to write this article and provide some basic ideas to help.
There Are Easy Solutions to Help Beat the Pandemic Blues
Most of these activities can be done within the home. Outside activities can be enjoyed with social distancing measures in place to keep you safe. Actually, people of all ages—not just retirees—can and should check out these ideas to help remain happy and well during these trying times.
Stay Physically Active
Exercise is a great stress reliever and helps combat anxiety and depression. Strength and resistance training, along with appropriate cardio exercises a few times a week, can help keep you fit and chase those blues away.
Get your cardio in by taking a brisk 30-minute walk through your neighborhood, in a park, or at the beach. Swim laps in your pool or enjoy a game of tennis, which can be accomplished within the safe distance guidelines. You can go for a bike ride outdoors or get yourself an indoor, stationary bike for the same benefits.
Strength and resistance training can easily be accomplished with appropriate hand weights and exercise bands. There are many fitness videos on YouTube and even fitness television shows you can use as a guide. This particular type of exercise keeps your muscles in shape, so it’s important to find moves for your arms and legs that support the maintenance of muscle mass.
Make sure you exercise within your physical ability and check with your doctor for guidance.
Keep Your Mind Sharp and Stay Optimistic
Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness—and exercise falls into this category, too! So, a good daily physical routine helps maintain a healthy state of mind.
Additional mental activities include things such as crossword puzzles, board games, and playing cards or online games online that can give your brain a good workout. Many older adults enjoy online classes to learn new skills. The point is—working on challenges helps maintain focus and clarity that may otherwise be diminished by stress and anxiety.
An optimistic attitude is key to beat the pandemic blues. There are a variety of ways to maintain a cheerful outlook regardless of what’s going on in our worlds.
Meditation and yoga help calm the mind, providing a sense of calm. Motivational books that teach you how to remain positive during life’s storms can be exceptionally helpful. Hire a life coach to help you learn how to rewire a negative mindset into a positive one. Talk to others who strive to maintain an upbeat and positive attitude. You can chat on the phone, via FaceTime or Zoom, and doing so keeps you connected on a more social level. Practicing gratitude on a daily basis is a great mood-booster, as well. After all, with a little thought, we can all find things in our lives we are grateful for, even the small stuff.
Connectivity is crucial—probably the most critical item on this list for everyone from children to older adults. Children need daily interaction with others to learn the basic social skills that will build a solid foundation for their lives. For older adults and retirees, connectivity through socialization helps to combat the potential negative mental health effects of retirement. And, for all age groups in between…well, as humans we are social creatures by nature. The mere fact that we can’t get out and meet up like we used to can make it hard to beat the pandemic blues.
Thankfully, there are several ways to socialize, pandemic-style. Of course, you can always talk on the phone. But FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom are video-calling platforms that allow you to see your friends and loved ones when you talk. It’s not as good as a big warm hug, but you can see the looks on everyone’s faces as you catch up on life.
You can also gather with friends and family if you live near each other, taking proper precautions. Parks and other outdoor recreational facilities have wide-open spaces to sit at safe distances to visit. Or perhaps your own back yard can accommodate a small gathering for a buffet-style bar-b-que.
We hope these ideas have sparked a bit of optimism for you. With a little thought and creativity, you can come up with clever ideas to help beat the pandemic blues before they even start. Your ability to stay active and connected plays a tremendous roll in your overall outlook on life, pandemic or no pandemic. It’s important to keep your spirits high, your mind sharp, and your body healthy through all stages in life, the good times and the bad.