Ten Things Baby Boomers Can Do if Self-Quarantined

Day #4 of shelter-in-place here in California where I live, one of the states hardest hit with the coronavirus. As my baby boomer husband said the other day: “Waking up to another day in Coronaville.”

“Coronavirus.” “Pandemic.” “Shelter-in-place.” “COVID-19.” “Social distancing.” “Self-quarantine.” “Stay-at-Home.” “Lockdown.” “Isolation.” To think just a mere month ago these words were not part of our everyday vocabulary. People wearing masks, empty grocery shelves, incessant hand washing, travel bans, closed schools, working from home, and a plummeting stock-market.

This is our new normal.

On Thursday, the governor of California issued a statewide stay at home order in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. Five other states have done the same. Basically, that means staying at home with the exception of going to the store, checking on relatives, going to the doctor, or exercising outdoors (as long as you stay six feet away from everyone). Schools and all non-essential businesses have been closed. If that news wasn’t dire enough, the governor also warned that 56% of California’s population is at risk of getting the coronavirus. Now, there’s a sobering thought.

Us baby boomers – specifically those ages 60 and older – well, it turns out we’re the susceptible ones likely to become seriously ill from this virus. Although we felt young, tough, and invincible when we first heard about this pandemic, as pointed out in my last blog, it seems like boomers are finally taking note. And that’s a good thing.

Not to be an alarmist, but may I make a suggestion? If you’re a baby boomer over the age of 65 and not in self-quarantine or isolation, you should seriously consider it, even if it’s not currently required where you live. That is most certainly the case if you have underlying health issues. I know, I know. Self-quarantining wasn’t exactly on your bucket list and we boomers are accustomed to active and social lives. But look at what happened in China and what is taking place in Italy and Spain right now at a breathtaking speed.

Transmission of COVID-19 is highly contagious and shockingly easy to transmit. Now, medical experts are telling us that the virus can survive on surfaces for up to three days. Younger ones may not even be symptomatic, so family members or friends can transmit the disease without even realizing it.  Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the incubation period (the time between when you contract the virus and your symptoms start) for the novel coronavirus is between 2 to 14 days after exposure.

The saying, “better safe than sorry” has never been more true. Okay, lecture over, but please take care, my friends.

So, what can you do if you’re like me, stuck at home, to get your mind off all this mayhem? My blogger friends and I are sharing ways to cope during these distressing times as part of the #Gr8Blogs Coping in Coronaville Blog HopBe sure and check out their suggestions by clicking on the links at the end of this blog.

Before I list 10 things you can do if self-quarantined, remember to stay safe, but remain calm and positive. While we need to take this virus seriously, don’t stay glued to the TV watching doom and gloom news reports. Instead, focus on the many reasons we all have to be grateful. At the end of the day, acknowledge that you were given another chance to see the sunrise, recognize something you’ve accomplished, or make note of a person you are thankful to have in your life.

Okay, so here are ten ways to stay sane:

  • Eat well and stay active. This isn’t the time to stress eat and indulge in comfort food. You’ll only feel worse in the end, believe me. Exercise – outdoors if possible. I still take walks, cycle, and hike trails – keeping a safe six feet from everyone else, of course. Literally, I can feel the stress melt away. Nature calms. However, if that’s not possible, there’s a ton of free workout videos on YouTube geared toward the 50-plus crowd. Check them out.
  • Strengthen your connections. Keep in touch with your family and friends. I belong to a small sign language congregation and we started using Zoom for our meetings. Maybe I’m behind the times technically since I had never heard of Zoom before, but this is a great way for a group of people to communicate with each other during these times. It’s so important not to isolate yourself. You can also stay in touch with your loved ones through texts, email, social media, Skype, or Face Time. Hate technology? Write an old-fashioned letter or create cards for your loved ones to cheer up their day.
  • I feel so fortunate to be a writer, which has served as therapy throughout my life. Tap into your muse. Keep a journal, write a poem, or start a blog. Begin the great American novel that’s been dancing around in your head. Start that memoir or family history. You’ll be amazed at how fast time flies by. In fact, if you’ve always dreamed of becoming a writer and want to take up the craft in your golden years, stay tuned. In my new book, which will be released next year, I’ll provide inspiration and motivation while sharing my knowledge and experience to help you begin your writing journey. For updates regarding the book’s release, you can follow my author page on Amazon. What if you hate writing? Try some other creative outlet. Paint, create jewelry, sing, or dance.
  • You know how us baby boomers are always being told to exercise our brains? Now is the perfect time to do so. Why not take an online class? Do a puzzle. Learn a new skill. Want to learn a new language? My son, Chris Gorges, an interpreter for the deaf, offers free educational content for those wishing to learn sign language on YouTube.
  • Take time to savor the small moments. Even during lockdown, you can step outside to enjoy the sound of a bird singing, the smells after a rainstorm, or the beauty of a sunset. Savor simple things like the first spring day in your garden or that first sip of coffee.
  • Read those books that have been gathering dust on your bookshelf or check out the top bestsellers on Amazon. Looking for suggestions? I thought Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout was brilliant. Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane and the quirky Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata were also worthwhile. And if you want creepy, try The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell, or My Lovely Life by Samantha Downing.
  • Resist the temptation to lay in bed or lounge around in your PJs all day. Get up, shower, brush your teeth, and put some nice clothes on. Put structure into your day with some goals to achieve. You’ll feel better and it will help you keep a positive outlook.
  • Now is the perfect time for some spring cleaning. Clear out that junk drawer, get rid of clothes you never wear, and declutter. Do your taxes so you’ll have one less thing to stress about. The chores will distract you and help you feel productive.
  • Do you have an old guitar or saxaphone in the closet? Dust off that old instrument, take lessons, or start practicing.
  • Indulge yourself. Take a long bubble bath. Listen to music from the 60s and dance around the house. Add your favorite songs to your playlist. Give yourself a facial. Sleep in or take a nap. Look through an old photo album. Sit outside in the sun. Feeling stressed? Be sure and read something spiritual and inspirational each day. Pray. Practice deep breathing. Do some Pilates. Try using an app like Calm or Headspace. Need some distraction? Watch an old black and white favorite movie from your childhood or a film that makes you laugh out loud. Get a free trial of a streaming service and binge-watch as much as you can before it expires.

There you go. Ten things that will help you cope during these unprecedented and distressing times. If you need some reading and encouragement during these rough times, please subscribe to my blog and you’ll be the first to receive my updates through email. Remember, you are not alone. We baby boomers are going to get through this together! 

So, what are you doing to stay calm? Please share in the comment section. But before you go, click over to more #Gr8Blogs listed below for more inspirational advise:

Cat Michaels: I Refuse to Waste Away in Coronaville

Rebecca Lyndsey – Coping in Coronaville

Rosie Russell – Ideas on How to Cope in a Coronavirus World

Chris Gorges – 7 Ways to Cope with Coronavirus Fatigue

Carmela Dutra – How to Stay Positive in a Coronavirus World

James Milson – It’s Here — Coping With The Coronavirus Challenge Now

Sandra Bennett – Staying Grateful in a Coronavirus World 

Auden Johnson: Quarantine Life: Ways to Cope in a Coronavirus World


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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11 Responses

  1. Chris Gorges says:

    I appreciate the reminder that it is still okay to go outside. Sometimes it feels like the doors are locked from the outside, but just going out for a walk around the block can make such a huge difference!

  2. Carmela says:

    Being that I suffer from asthma, I’ve been more on high alert than many my age. I’ve struggled to keep it under control, and I know this can seriously mess me up. As hard as it has been, I have continued to myself. Zoom is wonderful, so is skype, facetime, and even Marco Polo. All are great ways to keep virtually in touch. Our attitude plays a significant role in how we can get through these shelters in place mandates. Great suggestions, positive thinking people. Stay safe.

    • juliegorges says:

      According to the latest news reports, the young aren’t as immune to this virus as previously thought. Thank-goodness we have technology to help us all not to feel so isolated. You stay safe too!

  3. Great suggestions, Julie. I’n glad the weather is getting better for us to to at least go outside. We still have some chilly days but we know it will warm up.
    We are very thankful for Facetime, but we are really missing those hugs.
    Thanks again and take care.

    • juliegorges says:

      This is hard, no doubt about it. We are fortunate that this order didn’t take place in the middle of summer when it is too hot to go outside. The weather here right now is lovely. Stay safe, Rosie, and take care.

  4. Cat Michaels says:

    Geez, it takes effort these days to stay upbeat and be positive, Julie. I give myself permission to have 5 minutes of worrying and fretting each day while watching virus updates, then turn ’em off and get down to the business of staying calm and centered. As you suggest, I need movement and physical activity, so walking the hood and working out with apps keeps me sane. Ah, yes, and the writer thing, too. Making headway on editing a new middle-grade book and getting close to outlining my new adult fiction for women. Thanks for the great ideas, as always. Stay well over there on the left coast!

    • juliegorges says:

      Yes, it is difficult to stay positive. Us writers are going to get a lot done, right? Lucky to be a beta reader for your new book with Rosie. Half way through and it is fantastic! Your readers are in for a treat!

  5. Julie says:

    I love all these suggestions except do your taxes – gah!

  6. A wonderful list of suggestions Julie, we think so much alike. Walking outside in the fresh air everyday s still important for both our mental and physical health. Stay safe and well. xxx

  7. Diane Dahli says:

    All good ideas. I needed this little nudge to get me away from the news! Thanks!

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