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Articles Posted in Health and Wellness

letter-writing-300x200By Jill Brightman

I’ll admit it.  I love to text.  It’s quick and it’s easy.  And, why struggle to find the right (auto-corrected) words when I have a variety of emojis right at my fingertips?

The advent of email, text messaging, and social media have undoubtedly changed our communication style, providing a convenient and fast way for us to keep in touch with others.  But these innovations, as helpful as they are, have also left us missing something – the beauty and joy of writing and receiving the written word in the form of a letter.

rollercoaster-300x200Since March, life has been very, very different. It’s hard to know how to deal with all the changes. A lot of us apparently started this journey hoarding toilet paper and learning how to make sourdough starter. We attended virtual concerts starring big-name musicians who broadcast from their living rooms. We watched the news incessantly, learned how to Zoom, and tried desperately to keep up with what we should and shouldn’t be doing to ensure the safety of ourselves and our loved ones.

It has been a long, difficult six months.

No one can be blamed for having a lot of emotions right now. As people keep pointing out, this is an “unprecedented” situation. Between the disruption of our daily lives and the sky-high levels of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, it’s a miracle that we’re managing to hold it together at all.

downsizing

“Downsizing” is one of those words that seems simple, but can be wrought with overwhelming and emotional baggage. While it’s easy to embrace the concept – a smaller space, fewer possessions – actually getting rid of stuff is often harder than expected.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since we spend most of our lives accumulating “stuff.”

Year after year, we buy and collect, receive gifts, and save mementos, and it slowly fills up every drawer, shelf, attic space, closet, and corner of the garage. And then, in the course of a few weeks or months, we’re faced with undoing decades’ worth of acquiring.

It’s not easy. Continue reading

AdobeStock_97938605-1-300x200It’s never too late to explore your artistic side. In fact, many people discover that the second half of life is the perfect time to learn an art or craft.

Whether you decide to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush, sit down at a potter’s wheel, or strap on some dancing shoes, the arts offer countless opportunities for enrichment, fulfillment, and joy.

Many of our most beloved artists got their starts later in life. Monet didn’t get serious about painting until he was in his forties. Forty may be young by today’s standards, but in Monet’s day the average life expectancy hovered around the early sixties, making forty almost “venerable.”

family-tree-252x300While shows like TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? and PBS’ Finding Your Roots have definitely contributed to the popularity of researching our ancestry, people have always been curious about their family heritage. It’s human nature to want to know where we come from and who we come from.

As it turns out, exploring genealogy makes an excellent hobby, especially for older adults. It’s something that’s accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. And it offers many other social and emotional benefits:

Sense of Purpose

Earth-in-grass-300x200The COVID-19 pandemic may be putting our human lives on pause, but it hasn’t slowed nature down at all. In fact, in many instances around the world, the slowing of human activity has led to what many see as an opportunity for the Earth to rest and heal.

What a beautiful thing to ponder.

The slowing of industry in places like India and China has reduced pollution to its lowest levels in years. Many cities in India are being treated to views of the majestic Himalayas for the first time in three decades. Even Los Angeles has seen a striking drop in its trademark smog.

work-from-home-300x200If you are one of the millions of people suddenly working remotely from home as a result of COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, you may still be trying to find your “WFH (work from home) groove.” While working from home has a certain appeal (casual Friday every day, canine office mates, no commute), it also creates quite a few challenges (a blurring of the line between home and work, lack of routine or structure, inability to focus).

Luckily for people who are new to remote working, there are entire networks of people who have been working from home for years. (Remote or “dispersed” teams were actually a growing trend long before the pandemic struck and changed the work landscape overnight.) These WFH veterans have plenty of advice to offer.

As our own team adjusts to the WFH lifestyle, we thought it might be helpful to share some of our favorite tips for becoming a WFH master.

AdobeStock_301232145-300x200With most of the country under stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of the coronavirus, even the most reluctant among us are becoming better acquainted with our kitchens. As you burn through your culinary repertoires (and continue to avoid trips to the market and/or find that grocery delivery services are running weeks behind), you may be looking for creative ways to add a little variety and excitement to your meals.

Just maybe, a meal kit delivery service is just the thing you need.

These services come in a variety of styles, price points, and skill levels. They are great for people who are just learning to cook, for people who are too busy to do their own meal planning, and for folks who just want to bust themselves out of a cooking rut. They are also an especially appealing option in these days of self isolation and social distancing because they deliver everything you need right to your home.

AdobeStock_295677330-300x206We are living in some pretty surreal times right now. Things are changing so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep up with the news. Our daily routines have been upended, and our daily conversations with friends and family are all focused on the same topic: the coronavirus.

Few among us have ever lived through a crisis so intense and so global in nature. It’s no wonder that our stress and anxiety levels are through the roof.

But humans are amazingly resilient and adaptable creatures. Even in the midst of all the uncertainty and chaos, people are finding beautiful ways to extend small kindnesses and create joy.


AdobeStock_207729475-300x200Over the course of our lives, we feel a sense of purpose and pride for a variety of reasons, but most of them have to do with helping others. Whether we are parenting children, caring for aging parents, serving in a professional role, or fulfilling a philanthropic mission, we feel good when we are actively engaged in doing good work out in the world.

As we get older, it can feel like our worlds become a lot smaller. Opportunities to feel productive and useful start to dwindle. Kids move out, parents pass on, and we retire. Piece by piece, whole areas of our life are reshaped in a way that can—if we’re not careful—lead to social isolation and loneliness. 

Older adults who find themselves in this position are often at a much greater risk for a variety of serious mental and physical health issues, including anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system. 

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