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Given the trying times we are living in, no one would hold it against you if you felt a little anxious, worried, or distracted. Luckily, there are some effective strategies you can take to protect your emotional health as you shelter in place during the pandemic.

1. Stay virtually connected.

Unlike in 1918, when the Spanish Flu ran rampant, this time around we have FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom to help us connect with others while we physically distance. Although you can't get a hug over a video-chat, seeing the facial expression of your loved one can help increase the sense of connection. Not only are video-calls a good alternative to an in-person chat or phone call, you can also use them for many other activities including virtual coffees and online bridge. (Note: Country Club Retirement will facilitate video-calls if you don't have your own smart device.)

2. Practice gratitude.

Make it a daily habit to remind yourself of your blessings: your health, your relationships, your home, and so on. Make a gratitude collage or write a list that you can share with friends, family, or a dedicated "gratitude partner." Research shows that people who consciously practice gratitude tend to be happier and less depressed.

3. Balance your news consumption.

No one's suggesting you stick your head in the sand, but consuming too much heavy news can be anxiety-provoking. If this is the case, set limits on how much hard news you look it, offsetting it with reading inspiring COVID-related stories. Alternatively, you can follow up news sessions with pleasurable activities such as listening to music or reaching out to a friend.

4. Dust off old projects or take up new ones.

One of the gifts of social distancing is that it frees up time. You now have the time to complete unfinished projects you may have been putting off for years, whether it be decluttering your apartment or organizing your files, photographs, or drawers. It's also a good time to catch up on your reading (check out e-book offerings at your local library), make a travel bucket list, or take up a new hobby like making bread or knitting.

5. Educate yourself.

If you're a fan of lifelong learning, this is a great opportunity to further your education. Check out the wide range of how-to videos on YouTube, or go one step further and sign up for an online course. Coursera offers an abundance of courses, some of which are free, on topics like Vital Signs (of the body) or Introduction to Forensic Science. Skillshare also delivers thousands of classes on photography, crafts, languages, and more. Then too, edX partners with leading universities to deliver online courses on everything from the Science of Happiness to Basic Spanish. Another option to check is the continuing ed website of your local college.

6. Get moving.

Nothing can get your feel-good hormones going more quickly than exercise. Although swimming pools and gyms are off-limits, nothing prevents you from doing an in-home workout. Get inspired by the many online fitness routines available on YouTube or check to see if local gyms or fitness teachers are offering online versions of their classes during the pandemic. At the very least, enlist the support of a workout buddy whom you can exercise with in separate locations over Zoom.

7. Take in (virtual) culture.

Bricks and mortar museums and galleries may be out of bounds, but it doesn't mean you have to forgo cultural and recreational activities. You can still go on a virtual museum tour or make an online visit to a zoo or aquarium. If live performance is more your bliss, check out the productions uploaded by the National Theatre, Nightly Met Opera Stream, or other livestreaming concerts.

Hopefully, these tips will get you started on the road to emotional fitness. For more ideas and support, don't hesitate to contact Country Club Retirement Community.

Tabloids on 05/26/2020

Print Headline: Seven ways to preserve peace of mind during COVID-19

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