It certainly looks like we'll be doing the social distancing thing for quite a while.
It will be hard!
It will, however, be easy to be anxious, bored, unproductive or sad.
Before COVID-19 hit, I had a hard time thinking of myself as a senior. Now, every news report reminds me I am OLD and in the high-risk group! It is a difficult reality to swallow. I've seen a ton of lists to keep kids busy and productive during the crisis, but nothing for seniors—so I decided to make a list for us "older folks." It will work for everyone, though.
I am going to work at checking them all off! Please feel free to share.
1. Call or message someone you know lives alone.
2. Go outdoors and take a walk if you are able.
3. Contact a relative you haven't seen for a while.
4. Listen to music and sing along.
5. Do some deep breathing or meditation or pray!
6. Find something new to read. I'm thankful to have a stash of books, but there are many free online resources for books.
7. Create art in whatever way you chose to express yourself. Write, draw, craft, et cetera. Tap into your latent creativity.
8. Talk to someone in a younger generation—your kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews, et cetera. They have anxiety and fear, although they may not want to admit it.
9. Send a card or two to someone hospitalized or in a nursing home. They aren't allowed to have visitors right now.
10. Try a new recipe with what you have on hand.
11. Clean out that drawer or closet that's been driving you crazy. (I have several!)
12. If you have a yard, do some spring cleanup.
13. Tell someone you love them.
14. List 10 things you are grateful for in the midst of all this.
15. Pack a lunch and go for a drive.
16. Send a note of encouragement to someone you know is struggling.
17. Clean out your medicine cabinet and discard expired meds.
18. Go through old photos and remember the good times. If you are in the mood, do some sorting and organizing. This could take months!
19. Play a game with your housemates. If you live alone, dig out a deck of cards and play solitaire.
20. Do a puzzle.
21. Find something to appreciate in nature, either out your window or in your own backyard.
22. Take a social media fast for 24 hours.
23. Go through your clothes closet and get rid of things you haven't worn in the last year. You can donate to a nonprofit organization, once the threat has passed.
24. If allowed to go out, buy yourself a small plant or bouquet to have on your table. Or have someone deliver it to you.
25. Clean your refrigerator. I know—UGH!
26. List 10 things you like about yourself.
27. Light a scented candle for an hour or two.
28. Watch a movie you've been wanting to see. Lots of choices are available if you have cable, Netflix or Amazon Prime.
29. Plan something fun to do once this crisis has passed; an overnight trip, lunch with friends—whatever it is you've been missing most.
30. Leave a note in your mailbox thanking your carrier for maintaining delivery during the crisis.
31. Send a note of thanks to a doctor or nurse or other medical professionals who put themselves at risk each time they go to work.
32. Send a note or message to a fire or police station, thanking them for all they do to protect our communities.
33. Message your clergy person, encouraging them as they try to do their jobs remotely. This will be a learning curve for them.
34. Wash your front door! Mine is grubby after the winter.
35. Start a journal for the duration and write about what living through this challenging time is like.
Written by Susan Olthof, RN-BS, retired psychiatric nurse.