Getting Back to Senior Summer Fun in 2021
Summer 2021 is here, and we’re ready for it! With COVID-19 (mostly) in retreat, mask mandates lifting, and life looking more normal than it has in a long time, now’s the time to get out and get active!
Sixty-one percent of Americans gained weight during the pandemic. If you’re one of them, exercising more will not only help you shed those extra pounds, but also improve your mental and emotional health.
Let’s get active!
After being cooped up all winter, enjoying some outdoor warm weather activities sounds great. And if you can exercise to improve your physical and mental wellbeing at the same time, even better. Some suggestions for senior summer fun are
- walking with intention,
- starting a garden,
- visiting a local park that has exercise equipment,
- outdoor hobbies like bird watching or photography,
- visiting a place you’ve never been in your city or town,
- picking fresh fruit at a local farm, or
- enjoying a picnic.
What if you’re not feeling up for activity?
If you’re usually eager to enjoy summertime activities but aren’t feeling it this year, you’re not alone. You may be experiencing a post-pandemic phenomenon experts are calling “languishing.” You could easily compare languishing to a mild depression—without the feelings of sadness or worthlessness.
Languishing is best described as lacking zest or excitement for life. The New York Times recently said, “Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield.”
There’s no surprise that many people are languishing. At the height of the pandemic, nearly a third of U.S. adults reported feelings of depression, up from 8.5% before the pandemic. Now, almost 16 months since the first lockdowns changed our lives forever, many of us are stuck in an in-between place. We’ve been forcibly separated from our old lives, and returning to past routines can seem impossible. Rest assured, these feelings won’t last forever. Getting out and active is one of the best ways to overcome languishing!
Overcoming languishing with community
As harmless as languishing may seem, there are real dangers to leaving this mental state unchecked. Many who languish are at greater risk for developing depression in the future, as their indifference blinds them to the depths of their depression.
Exercising and engaging in activities, like the ones we suggested above, are a great way to combat the effects of languishing. But you can also reinvigorate your day-to-day life by socializing.
In most areas, senior centers, libraries, churches and other social gathering places have fully reopened. Not to mention restaurants, concert venues and theaters!
Planned activities may be difficult at first, but getting active with others is the best way to make life feel normal again. Make plans to go out to dinner with friends, take in a movie or even plan a weekend away. A few more ideas are
- attending an outdoor concert,
- going to a festival or fair with friends,
- entering a board game tournament,
- volunteering at your local animal shelter,
- putting together a group of friends to go to community events,
- shopping at an open-air farmer’s market, or
- taking classes at a local museum, community college or senior center.
Interacting with others and doing things outside your home will do your mental and emotional health a world of good.
Even though the world is reopening, the risk of COVID-19 is still present. As the coronavirus continues to mutate, the risk to the unvaccinated grows. The delta variant is now the dominant strain for new cases in the U.S. and is highly contagious to those who aren’t vaccinated.
However you choose to handle your summer fun, just get out there, and get active!
image credit: shutterstock/Rawpixel.com