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You may live alone during Covid-19 but need not feel isolated

Jim Nowicki, a former Buffalo Parks commissioner and retiree, does his best to avoid isolation during these Covid-19 days, even though he lives alone in the Elmwood Village.

He has his worries, though.

Nowicki sits on the executive board of the Buffalo Police Athletic League and knows the deadly coronavirus is derailing fundraisers for the organization and threatening summer programs.

He also has been race director for the Subaru Buffalo 4-Mile Chase, an iconic run scheduled to mark its 40th anniversary this year, on July 17.

More immediately, he’s concerned about the social isolation than can grip people any time during their Golden Years, so he shared the following tips, which he put on his fridge when Covid-19 spoiled his Florida vacation plans and reads every morning before starting his day.

Music “is a lifesaver,” Jim Nowicki says. He likes mellow tunes in the morning and upbeat starting midday. It helps set the right mood living alone during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Budd Bailey/Buffalo News)

1. Don’t Panic: “When things are tough, think positive.

2. Turn this into a positive: Come up with some creative ideas, particularly some you’ve put off, and remind yourself, “There’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel.”

3. Get something done every day: Nowicki just finished spending five days cleaning and organizing his kitchen. He also suggested planning for a garage sale and taking time to get rid of things you don’t need.

4. Use this time wisely: Make a schedule of daily and weekly activities.

5. Be safe: Nowicki has self-quarantined for the last 14 days. He recommended knowing what you have, what you need and what you can do without. His pharmacy delivers. His friends help him get groceries and with other needs. “It gives me peace of mind,” he said.

6. Exercise: Nowicki, who has two hip replacements, walks 45 minutes daily, often either to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery or through Forest Lawn. He gets no closer than 6 feet to others.

7. Eat healthy: Eat whole foods. “Try to stay away from junk food, from sugar, from pretzels and potato chips,” he said. “Cut down on alcohol. Try not to eat before bed.”

8. Drink water – and breathe: Take a deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds. If you complete this without coughing, without discomfort, stiffness or tightness, that’s good.

9. Enjoy music: “It’s is a lifesaver,” he said. He likes mellow tunes in the morning and upbeat starting midday. Now, he said, is a great time to organize your music and create a playlist.

10: Read a book (or write one): “I’m not a big book reader because I’m on the go all the time,” Nowicki said, but he’s lined up some pandemic reading. Choices include “Me: Elton John.” “The Last Temptation of Rick Patino,” “The Agent: My 40 Years Making Deals and Changing the Game,” and “The Boys in the Boat.” The last book is about nine Americans on a quest to win an Olympic medal in 1936.

11. Call someone who you haven’t spoken with in a while: Nowicki caught up this week with old friends from the former Bishop Ryan High School. “I still have a list of people I want to get to,” he said.

12. Take your time: “I subscribe to The Buffalo News,” he said. “That’s been a solace for me. I read a lot of interesting information.”

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