By Anne Goldberg, Contributor
With almost four months of social distancing under our collective belts, we are living with a new normal now that has each of us with more free time than ever before, leaving many feeling bored.
The thing is, boredom is a siren from within, begging us to reimagine how we spend our time. It is an internal call to action to do something.
If you’ve followed my column, you know that I love the Blue Zones. These are places in the world where people live the longest, with the least amount of disease. The lifestyles in these Blue Zones, as documented by researcher Dan Buettner, form the blueprint for healthy aging and there has not been a better time for us to embrace this wisdom.
With the COVID-19 crisis, quarantines for safety, especially for boomers and seniors, will likely go on for many more months, challenging us to find ways to counteract boredom. “I can’t think of another reboot as traumatic as this one, and out of trauma, a lot of us might be snapped awake to live a more fulfilling life,” Buettner said. In other words, being in quarantine at this time is an opportunity for each of us to wake up to a healthier, happier way of living that is born from the conscious, healthful choices we make.
So what to do when boredom strikes? Well, we all have to eat. Did you know that Blue Zones’ diets are 90 to 95 percent plant-based whole-food (not processed)? What meat they consume tends to be in small portions and on special occasions. Contrast this with restaurant food in which you are typically consuming about 300 extra sodium and sugar-laden calories, raising blood pressure and sugar. Preparing food at home provides an opportunity to control ingredients resulting in better health in the long run. Who can argue with that?
Counteracting Boredom Tip #1:
Create healthier versions of the food you love. Go online and Google easy plant-based or vegetarian main dishes and watch your screen populate with easy-to-follow, healthful recipes for a longer, healthier life. One of my standards is roasted vegetables. You can use any veggies you love, sliced about ¼ʺ thick. Think potatoes (sweet or purple are best), onions, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, string beans or asparagus. Pre-heat your oven to 400˚ and coat veggies with some olive or avocado oil, a little salt, pepper and rosemary (or any flavor profile you love – Italian, Indian or Asian) and bake for about 40 minutes, turning once. Bake longer for a crispier finish.
You can enjoy these by themselves or mixed with brown rice or quinoa for a delicious meal. I also add beans to salad (black, kidney, white, chickpeas) for more fiber and minerals. Beans and nuts are two of the Blue Zones’ foods that have been shown to help humans live longer and healthier.
Counteracting Boredom Tip #2:
If you’re bored and cooking isn’t your thing, Buettner suggests taking a blank sheet of paper (or your computer) and make four columns. The first column is “What I like to do,” the second column is, “What I’m good at,” the third column is “What are my values,” and the fourth is “My gift.” Fill the first three columns first with about ten short phrases and then scan for the commonalities. “That fourth column,” Buettner adds, “is where you can put your passions to work.” When you know what your passions are, you will be more likely to make choices to act on them.
Counteracting Boredom Tip #3:
Lastly, if you find yourself bored, reach out to friends and family. Traditional phone calls work great and video calling brings you face-to-face with your loved ones. Making two or three calls per day will go a long way to staying connected with loved ones, leaving you with a very satisfying experience.
Be a Savvy Senior. Use boredom as a call to action to something that makes you feel good. You’ll know you are successful when, at the end of the day, you feel healthier, more connected, more cared for and more fulfilled.
For an environment in which everyone is a “Savvy Senior,” we invite you to learn more about John Knox Village, south Florida’s premier Life Plan Community. To learn more about us (and how we’re growing) from the safety and comfort of your home, click here for a free info kit or call our friendly team at 954-783-4040 today!
Anne Goldberg, The Savvy Senior, has a mission to help seniors know they are old enough to have a past and young enough to have a future. Her vision is to create an army of senior volunteers bringing their wisdom and experience back to the community. She helps seniors live into their future with vitality by teaching them how to use computers; with conferences & workshops on The Art of Living Longer; with decluttering & organizing; and with “Tell Your Story Videos”, preserving the stories & wisdom of your life for future generations.