Do you have a daily routine? Most people do! But getting ‘stuck’ in a routine can dull your spirit and negatively impact your health. William Cowper said, “Variety is the spice of life, that gives it all its flavor.” Be spontaneous, do something you’ve never done before, meet new people. Branching out can greatly improve your quality of life.
Socialization has been shown to be one of the most effective ways for seniors to enhance their mental health by improving mood, cognition, and memory through purposeful activities. By doing so, depression can be minimized, independence can be established, and emotional connections can be restored. Here are some ways to get out and take advantage of social opportunities near you!
Art. Is there an arts and crafts center near you? Does your local senior center have any drawing, painting, or scrapbooking classes? What about “Wine and Canvas” events in your area? (Hint: it’s a painting class with cocktails… sign me up!)
Exercising. Yoga, low-impact aerobics, and strength training classes are typically offered at local senior centers. Or you can join a gym and take advantage of the personal training sessions offered. Getting outside and going for a walk is a great way to clear your head, get fresh air, and increase your energy levels.
Higher learning. It is never too late to go back to school or learn a new skill. Some colleges even offer free courses for seniors. Whether you want to get a degree or gain knowledge on an interesting subject, this can be a great time to pursue your passion while meeting like-minded people.
Cooking and baking. Have your cake and eat it, too! Cooking classes are wildly popular these days. Make some new friends while preparing a meal. Impress your loved ones with your new culinary skills!
Volunteering. Giving your time and talents can change the way that you see the world. Children, homeless, veterans, people with disabilities… your local shelters and community foundations are sure to have opportunities to serve those in need. Helping others is fulfilling and valuable on so many levels.
Music and dancing. Hit a honky tonk with a friend or take your spouse to ballroom dancing lessons! Creative movement and tai chi in the park are popular classes through community senior centers. Get movin’ and groovin’!
Pet therapy. Want to bring joy and improve lives in your community, all while spending time with your pet? If the answer is yes, then check out www.petpartners.org. You and Chew Barka can each make some new friends.
Playing cards. My dad’s greatest joy (other than his grandkids) was playing cards and drinking coffee with his buddies. Poker, pitch, and pinochle were their faves. He always came home with a smile on his face and stories to tell.
Some other ways to meet new people or connect with family and friends include winery tours, bowling, gardening, golf, or visiting a museum. Happy people experiencing fulfilling lives can expect to live better and longer.