- As COVID-19 continues into 2021, many are struggling to stay active and engaged.
- Multiple online offerings are available to help ease the boredom and isolation of the pandemic and social distancing.
- Play games, visit museums and aquariums and experience virtual wildlife from the comfort of your living room.
[3 MIN READ]
By now Facetiming with the grandkids has lost some of its charm. Zoom cocktail parties are not nearly as fun as they once were, and there may be nothing left to binge-watch on Netflix. Now what?
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stretches into 2021, staying active, engaged, and connected is becoming increasingly difficult for many people struggling with the isolation, loneliness, and boredom caused by social distancing. Boredom can not only make you a little stir crazy, it can affect your physical, emotional and mental health if it goes on for too long.
We’ve put together a selection of virtual activities, tours, games and other assorted online distractions that can keep you entertained without leaving home. Next time you’re feeling restless, give one of them a try.
Discover online games
Multiple websites are dedicated to a seemingly endless variety of online games ranging from old classics to new soon-to-be-favorites.
Here are a few of them:
- AARP has a large selection of games to challenge your vocabulary, fine-tune your reasoning skills or shoot a few virtual missiles.
- Chess.com is geared for all levels of chess players, from beginner to advanced. The site lets you play against a real opponent via Facebook or a computer-generated version accessible on any device with internet access. It also includes chess puzzles and tactics that help keep your brain active.
- The Jigsaw Puzzles give both sides of the brain a workout with hundreds of online puzzles that provide a relaxing activity that sharpens visual recognition and perception.
- Free, large print crossword puzzles that you can print and fill out the “old-fashioned” way with a pencil — or pen if you’re feeling confident.
- Coloring pages for seniors provide a creative outlet that’s easily accessible to anyone with a computer and a printer. Try a coloring challenge with your grandkids by downloading the same picture and showing each other your finished masterpiece at the end of the week.
- Online Mahjong brings you a selection of games to keep you entertained while you’re staying put.
Immerse yourself in culture
If you’ve always wanted to study the Mona Lisa at length or see a Picasso up close, a virtual museum tour is just what you’re looking for. Research indicates that art is more than pretty pictures and statues. Studies show viewing art can reduce stress, improve sleep and promote wellness. Museums across the country are doing their part to share their exhibits’ healing properties, have their collections online and many let you zoom in to capture all the details and you can linger as long as you like. Check out the collections and tours at:
- Google Arts and Culture is an extensive listing of museums around the world offering virtual tours.
- Smithsonian Institution has numerous online tours of its collections and exhibits.
- The Vatican Museums lets you wander through the Vatican's museums and attractions without leaving your living room.
- The Louvre shares its collection of fine art and sculptures.
Plan a trip
If the walls of your living room are starting to close in on you, planning a trip to take later when it’s safer to travel could be a good way to imagine being somewhere else. One of the most fun – and time consuming – aspects of planning a trip is figuring out the details like where you’ll stay, activities to try and nearby restaurants. And research shows it’s even healthy when you anticipate and look forward to travel. A quick Google search can help you find everything you need to plan the perfect getaway..
Visit the animals
If fine art isn't your thing, visiting the zoo can offer you many health benefits because connecting with animals is known to reduce muscle tension, stress and heart rate. Zoos and aquariums are opening their virtual doors to visitors who want to enjoy the animals’ antics but can’t visit in person.
View the wildlife at:
- Oregon Zoo showcases a new animal on their weekly Facebook Live events.
- The Smithsonian’s National Zoo Panda Cam lets you watch giant pandas Tian Tian, Mei Xiang and Xiao Qi Ji as they go about their day.
- The New England Aquarium shares glimpses of their residents’ day and takes you on watery adventures like whale watching.
- San Diego Zoo puts a large number of its exhibits online so you can enjoy the animals no matter where you’re located.
- Mpala Research Centre offers a look at wildlife at a Kenyan watering hole.
To “go to the zoo” with a friend or family member, create a watch party on Zoom by queuing up a video and sharing your screen. Although you may miss getting a slushee in a panda cup or spending way too much money on a stuffed turtle at the gift shop, you might enjoy this version of a zoo visit more – fewer lines, no parking decks and closer looks at your favorite animals.
Enhance your life with #VirtualExperiences and share your journey with fellow online travelers @providence.
Find a doctor
The virtual care options at Providence allow you to schedule a visit that is convenient to you from your home. Access a full range of healthcare services through Providence Express Care Virtual. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory or search for one in your area.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
About the AuthorMore Content by Providence Senior's Health Team