Staying Engaged during the Pandemic

We are tired of COVID. We are bored with Zoom meetings and missing our friends and family. Days seem to repeat themselves and, as I hear often from coaching clients, we have more time on our hands, but we seem to be doing less.

It’s OK. We can handle this . . . and we should handle it.

After all, we know that staying actively engaged in work, play and social activities is very important to our mental and physical health and even to our ability to remember and problem solve.

So, what are some creative ways we can jump through the hoops of COVID caution for a while longer?

Congratulate Yourself for Your Successes

First, congratulate yourself for the creative ways you have already stayed active and connected to other people.

Noticing your flexibility and creativity is good for your self-esteem, which in turn increases the “healthy hormones” in your body and brain. You remember better, feel happier and are healthier when you have a sense of accomplishment.

Connect with Others

Many people report that they have adjusted to having less face-to-face time with family and friends and have learned to fly solo for work and entertainment.

However, Dr. Susan Pinker tells us that having regular social contact is incredibly important for our physical and mental health. People who are in regular contact with others have fewer health problems, remember better and even live longer!

So, let’s think of new ways to stay closely connected with others.

  • Invite friends to join you for a book group or a virtual tour of Europe.
  • Use an app, such as Netflix Plus, to watch an award winning movie with family members and discuss the film.
  • Schedule online problem solving meetings for work and volunteering.
  • Use a meeting platform to share your new baking (carpentry, gardening or decorating) skills with family. Invite them to work along with you while you give advice.

Commit to New Learning and Adventures

Create new activities that challenge you physically and mentally. This will perk you up, motivate you, get you involved. And, as Dr. Sanjay Gupta writes, novel activities encourage brains to form new cells and pathways; they improve memory and thinking!

  • Have you wanted to be an advocate for social justice, decreasing hunger, consumer rights? Reach out to local libraries, community centers, interfaith organizations to ask how you can help.
  • Have you always wanted to learn another language or build a computer? Find classes online through university emeritus programs, Shepherd’s Centers, art museums and libraries.
  • Local and national organizations need virtual volunteers. Contact VolunteerMatch.com or local organizations, such as the Volunteer Center of the Triad to match your interests with community needs.
  • Exercise is good for your body and brain . . . and can be done with others virtually. Try a fitness activity that is new and challenging, such as tai chi, yoga or strength training.

Most importantly, create your own connections and adventures for staying engaged during the pandemic. Share them with others and “jump through the hoop of COVID cautions” for a little while longer.

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