The last few years have been hard on all of us and none more so than with our youth and seniors. Lockdowns, restrictions, isolation have had devastating effects on our mental and physical conditions. And, while we need to continue to be aware of virus threats, many folks continue to live with the shackles of pandemic anxiety dominating thoughts and preventing them from living the active, social lives they once lived.

In pandemic conditions it’s easy to forget that being social and moving our bodies is our natural state of being. Anthropologists point out that it has been our ability to come together, bond in groups and form communities for the collective good, that has allowed us to evolve as we have. This may help explain why the human experience is suffering these days.

No more! It’s time to have a little pep talk with that little voice in our heads that is hardwired to protect us. Like the ex that just can’t seem to move on, it’s time to have that talk: “It’s over. Deal with it!”

And then guess what? (cue the Flashdance music) “Oh, what a feeling! Being’s believing.” Freeing ourselves of those self-imposed, mental shackles that keep holding us down. How?

The short answer, of course: daily exercise, eating well and socializing more. Fortunately we live in a great environment for this. Did you know that Sechelt has one of the most walkable downtowns in North America? Within a 100 metres or so, you can walk from the shopping centre to the ocean to the library to the activity centre to the pub. And, compared to big cities, people are so friendly wherever you go. Ever try saying hi to strangers, walking around downtown Vancouver?

At the Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre (SSAC), every day I feel these shackles coming off as active agers come through our doors for sports like pickleball and carpet bowling, creative activities like ukulele and quilting, social games like bridge and poker and, of course, well attended staples like yoga, fitness and dance. Bus trips provide the opportunity for folks to get around to places they might otherwise not be able to. Even serving fresh lunches can be huge as this may be the only opportunity all day that a person, living alone, has to interact with others.

Summer is the golden time for Canadians so get outside, breath in nature, move the body and interact with others motivated to do the same. Remember . . . if it’s going to be, it’s up to me.

Eric Kristiansen

Eric is the office manager at the SSAC and brings a lifetime of experience working in the health & wellness industry. He has a degree in Physical Education from UBC, is a former world champion in basketball and has presented internationally on topics ranging from masters athlete performance to active aging strategies for public recreation.