As we come out of an election that had people stress eating and drinking, we’re now headed toward the holiday season.
Except … COVID-19 is worse than ever. The word “lockdown” is resurfacing. Hell, even Utah now has a mask mandate.
So, I don’t think the holiday party circuit will be quite as robust this year. And the big Thanksgiving dinner may be off the table too.
So, why not mentally fast-forward? Instead of making resolutions on January 1, 2021 … just start now.
Given the reduced holiday gluttony, you’ll be ahead of your fitness game by January no matter what. Why not add to it?
Whatever your goals are — better health, greater wealth, or personal growth — there’s no better time to begin working on them. The world seems out of control, but the one thing you have control over is your own actions.
Hopefully some of the following resources will help. Start now and keep going!
Lifting the Weight
Increasing your strength is one of the most important things you can do as you get a bit older. And the other benefits are too numerous to list here. But if you’re feeling anxious (ha, if), it’s also a great way to burn off that uncomfortable edge that inhibits your mental well-being.
Row, Row, Row Your GOAT
Yes, you can row yourself to your “greatest of all time” fitness. While the Peloton is all the rage, you can likely pick up a rowing machine for less, and get greater outcomes, faster.
Save Your Health
Health savings accounts, or HSAs, can help you take control of your health and financial wellness needs in today’s unpredictable world. They help offset costs of high-deductible health plans, have “triple” tax benefits, and recent legislation has made easier to use. Get the scoop here.
You might be feeling trapped, overwhelmed, and unfulfilled in your relationships because you seek approval, validation, and worth from other people. Instead of looking to others for how you feel inside, realize that being okay with yourself will always be easier than trying to please people for whom it’s never enough.
Start Me Up
“A Fresh Start is when we get to start anew, with a blank slate. It’s waking up to a brand new morning, with a day we get to use however we want.”
Perhaps what you need to start right now is a new hobby. It’s another one of those things that’s so good for you in so many ways, and Trudi has the scoop. In the Flashback, an 80s anthem that worked for the finale of the Sopranos, and for today (and tomorrow).
P.S. Share this issue of Further with friends, and earn cool Further gear. It’s easy … just use these links that contain your unique referral code:
Finding Happiness Through Hobbies
By Trudi Roth
Having a hobby may have seemed like an indulgence to some of us Type-A workaholics. But in the harsh light of 2020, a daily dose of escapism seems like a necessity.
Case in point: the collective joy around Nathan Apodaca, the viral sensation who posted a TikTok video of himself singing Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” as he rode a longboard to work.
The middle-aged dad’s favorite ways to take breaks — skateboarding and making TikToks — is a perfect illustration of another silver linings pandemic playbook entry: the rise of hobbies.
Giving time and attention to your enjoyment isn’t a luxury but a smart way to give your physical and mental health a boost. While the point of a hobby is to have fun and relax, the byproducts are profound.
The Pluses of Pastimes
Research shows that leisure activities can improve your mood, decrease stress, and lower your heart rate. You’re also juicing your functional neuroplasticity, supporting better memory and longevity, and potentially providing protection from dementia later in life.
Depending on the hobby, positive impacts vary. Creative pursuits, like making art and music, can put you in a state of flow. When you’re immersed in a project, there’s no room for negative thoughts, worries, or fear.
Physical outlets, like gardening, hiking, and yoga, add physiological benefits, like better heart health. And there’s evidence that leisure activities can lower your blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index. (Although if you’re a baker, enjoying the fruits of your labor may counteract some of that.)
To optimize the benefits of a hobby, psychologist and creativity expert and author James C. Kaufman recommends pursuing pastimes that are challenging enough to be engaging, but not so hard that you give up quickly.
Ride on Your Hobby Horse
The great news about hobbies is that they’re an avocation, not a vocation. So who cares if all you can play on guitar is the chorus of “Wonderwall” or if your hydroponic garden is off to a slow start?
Compelling research by John Hopkins researchers Jeanine Parisi and Michelle Carlson shows that pursuing multiple pastimes can make you happier and healthier over time. According to Parisi:
By doing a variety of activities, you’ll expose your brain and body to different things. If you meditate, that may be good for stress reduction and relaxation. If you do some puzzles or reading or writing, that may be more cognitively stimulating. And, if you take walks, that is more physically engaging. By doing all of these, you’re really tapping into the whole brain and body.
So go ahead, take advantage of hobbies having their heyday. A good diversion goes a long way.
Your pandemic hobby might be doing more good than you know (American Heart Association News)
Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ (Live)
“Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit ….” South Detroit is Windsor, Canada. Other than that fun fact, the chorus to Don’t Stop Believin’ and the first mention of the title doesn’t happen until the end of the song, with only 50 seconds left. You know, just seconds before the screen went black in the finale of The Sopranos. (YouTube)
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