Healthy Mind and Body Equals a Happier, Longer Life

I was chatting with a friend who was telling my about the ways she kept busy and motivated while isolating and following the guidelines for COVID.

We were comparing ideas and she suggested it would make a good blog. She is trying new recipes and was about to make some apple pie jam.

We also talked about trying different spices including cumin, coriander and sometimes adding cinnamon to a main course recipe. We both enjoy experimenting.

Also she was organizing a beach walk which would be a socially-distanced reunion of long-term friends. She said she was thinking about adding a mystery guest if this becomes a regular walking group. The mystery person could mask-up and his/her identify would be guessed. We said it would even work on Zoom.

She was also looking into renting a metal detector to use as she did her daily beach walks.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to find something?” she said. “Even an earring.” Part of the fun is the anticipation of what might transpire.

Coincidentally as she went for her daily walk after our chat, there was a fellow with a metal detector exploring the beach. She was able to find out more.

I told her how two friends and I were attempting to write a novel…one chapter at a time. I started it and then the next person writes a chapter and so on. We just completed Chapter 12. It’s fun to see where it goes. When I see an email from one of the women I’m so excited to see what our ‘new friends’ are up to.

Another friend does crosswords so decided to subscribe to a national newspaper on Saturdays when her favourite crossword is there. She said she saves the paper for a day when she feels like doing it. No time lines anymore.

Over the summer we got a group of our long-term friends together for socially distanced lunches. We all took our own lunches and chairs. We had wonderful, safe visits.

Now winter is here we have continued to meet -wrapped in blankets, mittens, scarves and bringing hot drinks. We also seek out spots that are protected from the wind. The meetings don’t last as long but we all value face-to-face.

I play two word games on the IPAD every morning. One is called Wordscapes and the other is Word Stacks. Both are free. I even do word search and crossword puzzles just to keep my mind active. From what I read it is important do different types of puzzles to stimulate the brain.

As we age our cognitive functions such as memory, attention, awareness, reasoning and judgement decline. Research is showing cognitive function improves if we do specific things at least three times a week.

Many of my friends have tried new crafts. Some are knitting and crocheting some great things and the quilters are busier than ever.

Two friends have kept up their ukulele skills that we began at our winter home. Any time you can develop new skills your brain is being actively engaged. There are excellent lessons you can access virtually.

Friends are busy doing jig saw puzzles and I know couples who have kept a running score of their cribbage game since April! Other are trying new card games. I play solitaire with a deck of cards and am trying some new solitaire games. If you play solitaire on the computer it is a good idea to try it using real cards. It uses different skills.

We like board games like Rummikub, Quirkle and Sequence. Some friends are playing bridge on line. There seems to be lots of ways to keep busy. Sometimes the first step is to just DO IT!

Keeping motivated is difficult. Everyone I talk to struggles at times. Our church sent out a challenge and it is to walk 8000 steps a day between now and Christmas Day. We will have covered a distance of 144 km or 90 miles – the distance Mary and Joseph walked from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Five women I met in Palm Springs are going to complete this challenge. This first week as we walk we are to think about hope, the second week peace, third love and the fourth week joy.

What a treat to read emails from these five special ladies telling me what their thoughts of hope were and that they had completed the first day of the challenge.

My regular walking partner and I talked about hope as we braved the nippy west wind and enjoyed the sun.

What do you do to keep motivated? How do you stretch your brain and exercise your body? The goal is to keep moving and thinking so once we can resume more normal activities we have the get up and go to do so!

Published by Joan Craven

Joan Craven has been a

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  1. Another great blog article Joan. One small thing I’m doing during Covid is.. I downloaded the free app from Merriam Webster dictionary and get a vocabulary word everyday. They also have word games…fun to play.


  2. Hi Joan

    I am not sure if you receive replies on your blog….but I will respond anyway.

    Love all the ideas you mention! I am intrigued at your twelve chapter story. Is it fiction with characters?? Such fun….I could go for this and I have a few hilarious friends that might get on board with me😳😳

    I am walking and quilting every day.

    Daughter Lindsay gave me a Davids tea advent calendar so I am to brew a cuppa and make contact with someone who I have little contact with. So far I have heard back from three people and they were really happy to hear about how Rick and I are doing.

    Thanks for your blog. I always look forward to hearing from you.

    Be kind, be calm, be safe. (From Dr Bonnie Henry…BC’s medical covid leader)




  3. Thank you Joan. Always enjoy reading your blogs. Some great ideas to think about.

    Lucky I have two puppies to walk several times a day. Ride my new ebike couple times a week. Was playing PB a couple days a week, but that is shutdown again now.

    Hope you, Bob and families are staying safe and calm.🥰


    Self is the only prison that can bind the soul. Henry Vandyke


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