We know the importance of spiritual wellness for seniors. A spiritual connection can help older adults experience better mental health and even feel lower levels of physical pain. So in this time of social distancing, how do we tend to our spirits? Whether you have a well-established spiritual practice, belong to a religion or are considering spirituality for the first time, there are many ways you can explore this important aspect of your health.
Prayer groups/Bible study
With video call platforms like Zoom, FaceTime and Skype, your prayer group or Bible study group can continue to meet regularly and stay safe. If it’s a small group, you could also meet outside while social distancing.
Many places of worship are offering virtual services. Congregants can visit their website and watch sermons from the sofa. If you attend a church, synagogue or mosque regularly, ask them if they offer online services.
Based on a Buddhist practice, mindfulness meditation asks practitioners to find a quiet place and a comfortable position. Acknowledge the thoughts and feelings that arise without judgment or trying to change them. Stay in the present moment as much as possible, and observe the breath.
You can find YouTube videos and podcasts that offer guided meditations. Once again, you’ll find a quiet place and a comfortable position, but in guided meditation, an instructor will direct your thoughts and offer a specific course.
It can be difficult to social distance in popular yoga classrooms, and with yoga’s emphasis on deep breathing, you may not want to risk it. Luckily, there are some popular online yoga web series that you can do from home. If you’re a beginner or you live with mobility challenges, you might try a chair yoga class.
If you prefer to work with an instructor in person, see if you can find an outdoor class. It may be easier to practice social distancing and limit the spread of the coronavirus when you’re outdoors.
Everyday Spiritual Connection
Connect With Nature
Considering many people feel a bit cooped up these days, a popular choice to promote spiritual wellness for seniors is nature walks. If you don’t have easy access to trails, or if the weather is bad, you can also tend to houseplants or a patio garden.
Call a friend or family member. Talk about what you love about them and how they bring you joy. Making another person feel great will in turn make you happy. Other expressions of affection could be sending flowers, offering a gift, making more time for people or writing a note.
Find Purpose and Serve Others
Remember that by practicing social distancing, you’re serving others. You’re helping to keep them safe. If you’re good on a computer, you can also volunteer online. Organizations like United Nations Volunteers, Smithsonian Digital Volunteers, Zooniverse, and Project Gutenberg offer causes you can work on digitally. Additionally, you could knit, crochet or sew baby items for local hospitals or sew face masks for those in need.
Consciously experiencing gratitude has been proven to reduce feelings of resentment and frustration, improve sleep, and raise self-esteem. Appreciate people who go out of their way to help you, but also take time to be grateful for the good things in your life: friends, family, a great place to live, a sense of humor, your favorite food, etc. The more you focus on your blessings, the better you’ll feel.