The pandemic has changed all our lives. None of us are living like we were before this all happened. Most of us have more time on our hands, and it can be a challenge to keep yourself entertained when what you used to love to do isn’t available to you at the moment.
Here are a few things we’ve discovered have helped make this time more pleasant and given us more to think about, do and discover.
1. Always be working on a jigsaw puzzle.
Preferably the puzzle is placed somewhere everyone in the house can reach, even the little ones. Each time you walk by, you find a piece to fit, which actually makes you feel you’ve accomplished a little something. Even if you are alone right now, this is a good little tool for dealing with isolation.
2. Always have a real book to read.
I know it sounds retro, but we spend way too much time in front of screens, and reading a book with actual pages is good for your body and mind. You will feel relaxed and get involved in a story the old-fashioned way. It’s a good way to pass the time and improve your mind.
3. Take an online class.
My wife and I like learning new things about stuff we care about. We’ve taken some museum “curator and cocktail” tours and learned about some works of art that interest us. And if the discussion is about something we care less about, then we simply visit a different museum online that day.
4. Start experimenting in the kitchen.
This is really not my best thing (it comes in second-to-my-worst thing, which is being a handyman). But I’ve always loved great food, and my wife is a wizard in the kitchen, so I watch her create these beautiful dishes and help out where I can. She’s starting to post some of her creations on Instagram (@likagolds), and we are both having fun. Please feel free to join us.
5. Take care of the stuff you have been putting off.
Shall I share my list? Taxes, the garage, spring plantings, organizing my desk, giving away clothes that no longer fit — and that’s just off the top of my head. We all procrastinate about doing something, and using this time to get it finished and out of your head is very freeing. In addition, the exercise you get when you are gardening, organizing and cleaning will do you good.
You don’t have to develop calculus like Sir Isaac Newton or write a masterpiece like Shakespeare; you just need to survive this and keep your life moving forward. Don’t let the pandemic stop you completely, because it’s really hard to start over from scratch.
If you made it through the last year but didn’t have much fun, and that’s the worst you can say, looking back, then it was a good year. Millions are suffering terribly, and you are very fortunate if you are reading this and can remain positive, productive and healthy. Just take that in and enjoy your free time.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at Barton@bartongoldsmith.com. ©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.