What is the Dutch population doing to keep a cool head? By means of these blogs, the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization aims to give people in the Netherlands a fresh dose of inspiration. We do this by summarizing the tips & tricks and highlighting a number of quotes from the COVID-19 study. In the spotlight this week: leisure activities.
The way we engage in leisure activities before the outbreak of COVID-19 differs drastically from how we now fill our free time. Shops are closed, and cafes and restaurants are abandoned. Sports clubs and gyms are deserted. We are forced to organize our time off in new ways. Fortunately, we still have plenty of choice, according to the dozens of tips & tricks from our research.
Exercising doesn't have to be difficult. You can consider a walk outside or go for a bike ride (respecting the rules of the RIVM, naturally) . Virtual media such as YouTube and Instagram can help you meditate, exercise and practice yoga. Recent research on happiness during this crisis indicates that exercise has the greatest positive effect on happiness.
“Have a workout every morning, preferably together with your partner. This could be: “Nederland in beweging”, a yoga session from YouTube or a more powerful workout via an app (such as a 7-minute workout) or a couples’ workout via YouTube. Very vitalizing.” (Woman, 25-34)
Use your creativity and enjoy others’
You can express your creativity at home in many ways. Consider, for example: drawing, crafting, sewing, taking pictures, making photo books, painting, and designing (and sending) postcards. Don't feel like making something yourself? Enjoy online art tours, music, podcasts, movies and series.
“Now that everyone has to be online a lot, I have sent all my friends a homemade card with a photo. A personal message for everyone and a wish for health. Received very positive reactions and that feels good! So I get a feeling of happiness twice, during the making and when I get the reactions! ” (Woman, 45-54)
Use digital resources to keep seeing and hearing each other (e.g., Teams, Skype, ZOOM, WhatsApp video calling, Jitsi). Are you done talking? Not to worry. You can play physical board games virtually using video calling. Also consider playing an online game (e.g., via Houseparty, Wordfeud, Steam) or organizing an online quiz for your loved ones.
“I try to replace activities that I would otherwise have to do with friends by using virtual solutions. For example, I'm going to "shop" with a friend tomorrow by talking to each other through Microsoft Teams and sharing our screen while looking at webshops. ” (Woman, 18-24)
“Play Scrabble. Good for your children's vocabulary, a fun way of being together. ” (Man, 35-44)
Look at the bright sight of things and live in the now
For many, activities such as cooking, tidying up, tutoring for homework and preparing dinner feel like obligations. DIY and gardening aren't a hobby for everyone either, just as doing groceries for the elderly neighbor. Many respondents propose to reframe these kinds of activities using a positive lense. Don’t regard these types of daily activities as an obligation but, rather, as a source of meaning in your life. Be mindful of "normal stuff" in life and live in the now. We know from science that mindfulness is good for your happiness.
“Stay active and ensure that you are 'visible' to the people who are important to you. Think of it as if you are on vacation. Check out the things with new glasses and allow yourself your own time schedule. Resist the downward spiral of media messages, it’ll keep you busy all day but it will bring you nothing.” (Man, 55-64)