Summer is here and the usual activities of summer are on hold due to the pandemic. While this can be disappointing, it could be a positive too! We assume COVID-19 will make a comeback in the fall but there is ample time to find some new hobbies and interests that can improve overall health. Since COVID-19 has worse outcomes in patients with chronic medical problems, the summer is a great way to become healthier and lessen the chances of complications should an infection occur. There are so many new virtual options for mental and physical health popping up. I need more free time to explore them all!
Feeling stressed? Meditation can be a great way to ease stress AND an excellent way to reassess life. There are lots of newer meditation apps that are really great. One app that is basically free is Insight Timer (insighttimer.com). While there is a paid version for $59.99 a year, the free version gives users access to tons of different meditations and meditation teachers. Calm (Calm.com) is another meditation app that has a free version. There is great content and short easy meditations for those who feel they are not ready for longer meditation. Of course, the paid version gives much more access. My favorite meditation app is Ten Percent Happier (tenpercent.com). I found it by accident when reading a book. I initially downloaded the free version but later decided to pay for the paid version. This app was started by Dan Harris, a news reporter for ABC and it allows users to choose from hundred of guided sessions on many different topics depending on what their needs are. There are meditation courses and a podcast as well.
Maybe it’s time to start working out? There are so many great virtual workouts available now. Maybe you have always wanted to do a 5K? There are several great Couch to 5K apps out there that are free (c25k.com). It is a 9 week program that is great for beginners. Want to make your runs/walks more worthwhile? Consider dedicating those miles to charity with the free app Charity Miles (charitymiles.org). Exercisers of all types are able to sign up and then choose from among several charities. There is no cost to the person putting in the miles but the charity benefits. It’s a win-win. For those who are more adventurous there is a super fun challenge called My Virtual Mission (myvirtualmission.com). Competitors have the opportunity to conquer famous routes like the Inca Trail, earn some pretty cool swag like t shirts and ribbons, and unlock virtual postcards. There is a charge for this challenge, but it definitely keeps the motivation going.
Vitamin D in so important for good health, and that’s a great reason to get outside. Consider an afternoon of fishing. Take a walk in the neighborhood. During these free weekends, my husband made me some raised bed gardens. We are so excited to see what we can grow and eat at our own home. Somehow getting outside and putting in the work makes the reward that much sweeter. Sitting on the porch soaking up some rays while listening to music or reading is a great way to unwind. Recently, the disc golf courses in Dodge City have been hopping. My family has been exploring local hiking trails. If you live in Kansas, check out getoutdoorskansas.org. It hooks users up with local trails. Go find something cool near you that you didn’t know about. My most recent adventure was at Big Basin and Jacob’s well.
Read any good books lately? I am a self-help book junkie. Books about improving are always on my list. Here are some of my recent favorites: Ten Percent Happier by Dan Harris, Girl Wash your Face by Rachel Hollis, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelley, and Excuses Begone by Wayne Dyer. Reading is a great way to reset the thinking patterns and can be done anywhere on any day.
Another great way to improve is to listen to podcasts that teach something new. help listeners to relax, or just to laugh. I enjoy the Ten Percent Happier podcast. It is done by Dan Harris, from the meditation app I mentioned earlier. I also really enjoy the Happiness Lab by Dr Laurie Santos. She has some special episodes dedicated specifically to COVID-19 but lots of other topics as well. Lewis Howes’ podcast The School of Greatness is always interesting. He interviews people who are successful in their own field, and they discuss the pathway to success. It is always surprising what lead people to their current state. As a Rachel Hollis fan, I also enjoy her podcast, RISE. Finally, my friend and a life coach Maria Lesetz has a new podcast called Color My Life Happy. She has short podcasts that are so easy to listen to about a variety of topics regarding the Law of Attraction and how to pivot when things are not going as well as you wish.
There are so many ways to get in a few minutes of stress relief, private time, exercise, or whatever is needed. Never underestimate the power that a few minutes in a warm tub with some essential oils diffusing can do. Often just ten minutes of a relaxing or stress relieving activity can completely shift the thinking in a positive way. There are literally hundreds of great activities out there. Don’t forget to visit your favorite Family Doctor if you need a checkup. Think outside the box. Be open to new possibilities! Live well and be happy!