It felt like COVID-19 was almost in our rearview mirror. We were ready to buy those plane tickets to Baltimore. Or maybe Bali? But the Delta variant is putting the kibosh on a return to normalcy, for now. As numbers spike, many people are reluctant to venture out of their comfort zone. But there are many ways to avoid going stir crazy.
Here are five things you can do to avoid feeling the COVID-19 hibernation squeeze:
- Learn to play an instrument. Bruce Springsteen is 71. Mick Jagger is 77. Madonna is 62. See a theme here? Although becoming a rock star at an older age may be a stretch for beginners, it doesn’t mean that you can’t chase your musical muse. Numerous studies support the benefits of learning to play an instrument at an older age. If you already play an instrument, why not take it to the next level with a Master Class with rock ‘n roll icon Carlos Santana? You may be rocking out to “Oye Como Va” in no time.
- Dog day afternoon. Florida has plenty of wide-open spaces for you and your dog to bark to exercise and enjoy the sunshine. For example, Central Florida offers Lake Baldwin Park in Winter Park. This 23-acre pet paradise is only one of two city parks that features a sandy beach. If that’s outside of your area code, try browsing this VisitFloirda web site for plenty of other options.
- Find your artistic muse. Take a beginner’s class in painting, writing or chase another dream you once had. There are plenty of online courses available. It’s good for your soul, too. Besides the masterclass.com option, there are many free “How-to” videos on YouTube. Research finds that pursuing creative outlets helps to build connections in the brain to strengthen brain resilience, while also helping to prevent memory loss.
- Take a walk. Going outdoors limits your exposure to the pandemic, so you’re already getting an extra benefit. Besides the healthy component, being outside offers other benefits, too. According to the Mayo Clinic, “It offers an emotional boost and can help you feel less tense, stressed, angry or depressed. And sunlight can give your body vitamin D, too.” Check out this article on the benefits of daily walks.
- Grow a garden. Home gardening has flourished during the pandemic, and Florida offers an ideal climate. Besides getting outside, and literally seeing the fruits of your labor, there are other fabulous benefits. Plants help cleanse the air of harmful chemicals, reduce dust, and increase oxygen within a home, reminded Taylor Clem, the environmental horticulture agent for the county’s UF Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences extension office. He also noted the psychological benefits of plants, citing medical studies observing outpatient recovery when greenery is visible through a window or inside. Check out this article on container gardening.