One of the best ways to brighten up our days is to set a new goal—get inspired to try something new and do it. It’s important to set measurable goals, so we’re not going to say, “I’m going to learn to knit someday.” Instead we’re going to say, “I’m going to learn to knit and I’m going to start tomorrow. I’ll buy my supplies, find some teaching videos or order a how-to book online. Then when I have everything ready, I’m going to practice beginning knitting stitches for half an hour a day. My long-term goal is to complete a simple scarf by the end of summer.”
When we have clear and measurable goals, we’re much more likely to be successful in learning something new and that feels very satisfying. So, what do you want to accomplish this summer? While we may be able to return to a more normal lifestyle in the summer months, many of us will be limited in leaving hearth and home. If that’s the case, a summer goal to learn a new skill may be just the ticket to enjoying each day more fully.
Here are some broad categories to help you select a new skill or hobby. Within the categories are several suggestions, but if those aren’t exactly what you want, go ahead and research something more appealing to you. A brand new endeavor can create excitement and help us focus our attention and abilities in a way that is healthy in this challenging time.
Most of us had a satisfactory exercise program in place before the quarantine kept us at home. We walked, played tennis, took classes at the local gym, or swam at the club. But now many of us are forced to find something to keep us fit without leaving our homes. That’s a challenge. If we can walk in our neighborhoods, that is a plus. But if not, here are some exercise ideas to keep our bodies healthy while at home.
Yoga is great for low-impact body toning. It’s also relaxing when done properly. Try several yoga routines and select the one just right for you: free yoga classes, or www.yogawithadriene.com.
Are you missing your exercise classes? If so, get online and find an exercise routine that fits your needs. You’ll find everything from ten minute to hour-long workouts requiring a minimum of equipment. Start slow and build. Try Eldergym or Seniors Exercise.
Tai Chi is another low impact exercise that is also calming and beautiful. Try everyday tai chi or free tai chi for seniors.
Those who do Pilates swear by this workout for toning and overall healthy bodies. Try this Beginner’s Pilates workout.
Music is one of the richest sources of enjoyment in this life, whether we listen and enjoy or learn to make some music ourselves. Create new playlists, break out the old vinyl records, unearth the old CD’s or watch and listen to the quarantine concerts people are creating for others out of their generous hearts.
Music Appreciation is usually offered as a high school or college class. It teaches you the basics of music vocabulary and the major artists throughout each period in the history of music. Do you know your Baroque from your Romantic composers? Do you gravitate toward a certain time period and want to learn more about the composers of that era? Try this music appreciation class for a minimal fee.
Learn to Play a Recorder Recorders are simple starter wind instruments. They are often used with children to give them a basic understanding of reading music and playing simple, but lovely songs. Try this beginning recorder class or this free lesson for beginners.
Strum a Guitar/Banjo/Mandolin/Ukelele Playing songs on a stringed instrument is extremely satisfying and you can learn a few basic chords in a single day. There has been a resurgence in the popularity of the basic ukulele. Learn to play one and have some fun.
There are lots of jokes flying around about gaining weight in this time of staying home. We’re forced to cook most of our meals and people have been defaulting to comfort foods. But cooking and baking really are arts in themselves and this is a great time to expand your cooking repertoire.
Cook Using a Pressure Cooker Maybe you’d like to know how tomake meals in minutes when youcook using a pressure cooker.
Learn to make French Pastries You’ll wow your family when you try these ten new and tempting recipes for making French pastries.
Homemade Granola Everyone loves this sweet, delicious and healthy breakfast cereal. If you’ve always wanted to learn to make homemade granola, now is the time.And you can alter the recipe as long as you keep the ratio of dry to wet ingredients at eight to one.
Read in a New Genre
If you’re like me, you have a favorite type of reading material. While I enjoy some thrillers (not too scary) and I enjoy many short stories, my go-to reading is the mystery novel. I always say I love a dead body, but really, it’s the character development over a series of books that I love. What do you love? What if in this extended time of shut-down, you tried something new?
Write in a Journal
Go ahead and buy a pretty new empty journal. There are all those blank pages just waiting to be filled. Write your thoughts. Make lists. Jot down the things that make you angry or drive you crazy. Empty your thoughts and emotions onto the pages. You’ll be amazed. Writing our ideas is a way of organizing them, realizing the truth of them, and a way to calm our ragged nerves. I guarantee you’ll benefit from writing in a journal regularly.
Write Your Family History
You may never win a prize for your novel or short story, but you may take a great deal of satisfaction from chronicling your family’s history. Go back as far in your family tree as you can and write out the stories you know. Where did your grandparents live and what was their life like? Who has a story of success and who was the black sheep of the family? Where are your roots? Add pictures if you have them and write out the funny stories you remember from your own growing-up years. Your kids and grandkids will absolutely love to read your family history.
Be Brave: Try Writing a Poem
Forget everything that scares you about writing poetry. It doesn’t have to rhyme and it doesn’t have to be about earth-shaking topics. But it does have to have a certain rhythm to it and it has to be honest. It’s a little like writing a journal entry, but with fewer, “just-right” words. Why not try?
We’ve only scratched the surface of skills and hobbies you might want to learn about this summer. You may have interests in drawing, sketching or painting. You may want to create simple crafts for your walls or garden. You may have a desire to try sculpting or collage.
You may really enjoy playing board games or card games. There are hundreds of them. Or how about playing a trivia game with friends over a period of time? You can play games via online programs such as Teams or Zoom and it’s almost like being in the same room with them.
Maybe you’d like to brush up your French, German or Spanish. Or maybe you’d like to tackle that math course that eluded you back in high school. No matter what you decide to learn, be sure to make that measurable goal including timelines and you’re on your way to a focused, enjoyable summer.