Courtesy of Pexels Reading is a good way to find joy while staying safe during the pandemic.

No one could have foreseen the changes in our daily lives brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although nothing is as it was, there are many ways to find joy, connect with loved ones and remain upbeat. Following are a few of the Aware Senior Care team’s favorites.

Listen to music. Particularly for older generations, listening to music is therapeutic and can serve as a time travel of sorts. Make playlists via free online services such as Spotify and Pandora, and share with friends near and far. Taking a drive with a favorite playlist as a soundtrack can help pass time and calm your mind.

Read. Been meaning to make progress on that stack of books on your bedside table? Now’s the time. Many local bookstores and national organizations have started virtual book clubs; sign up to stay both accountable and social.

Exercise. Gyms may be closed, but taking walks and riding bikes outdoors remain options for those who enjoy the sunshine. If you’re more of the indoor type, find a YouTube yoga tutorial. My wife and I, in between managing Aware Senior Care, use Zoom to take our favorite exercise classes from a distance. Local YMCAs and gyms are offering similar services.

Learn a new skill. Another great way to fill the time while staying at home is to learn a new skill – maybe a new language or a new instrument. SkillPop.com offers amazing classes – everything from cookie decorating to painting, photography and social media basics.

Get a dose of culture.Take a virtual museum tour. Google’s Arts and Culture Website offers tours of museums throughout the world.

Try a new recipe. You may not have had the time to try Julia Child’s famous Boeuf Bourguignon before, but perhaps that’s the silver lining of COVID life. Use online resources like The Great Courses Plus or The Cooking Channel to find pro tips, cooking classes and online tutorials from your favorite chefs.

Reach out to friends. There’s no substitute for a good chat over coffee, but we can still connect with friends from home. Revisit the lost art of writing letters. Send an email to check on friends and offer a helping hand. Try Zoom to connect with grandchildren or pals around town.

Send a care package. Use services such as Amazon, Target or Etsy to compile a surprise porch-drop, or ship a care package to someone you love. Receiving an unexpected gift is a welcome reprieve from the challenges we all face now.

Limit your news consumption. We’re living in a serious and uncertain time. Make a commitment to yourself to limit news consumption and channel your energy into being a positive force for your family and community alike.

We are all affected by COVID. We stand in awe at the selflessness of our community members, particularly first responders. We wish you patience, peace of mind and health during this unexpected time.

Tim Murry is CEO and co-founder of Aware Senior Care. For more information, visit awareseniorcare.com.