blog | 11.30.22
Self-care During Your Golden Years
Self-care is critical for all people – regardless of age. But when you’re an older adult, your chances of getting sick or injured increase, and as a result, so do your chances of feeling burnt out and anxious. These challenges make it all the more important for aging adults to practice self-care.
That said, you can certainly make your golden years your best years by incorporating simple everyday self-care habits into your routine. Prioritizing your own health and well-being will not only benefit you but those around you. Here are a few ideas for making some small yet impactful changes to your daily life:
Move Every Day
You’ve heard it said before, but it bears repeating that exercise is good for you! Engaging in physical activity each day can help improve your balance, flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular health.
Regular exercise will also reduce your risk of chronic disease and injury, among other health issues. It will also do wonders for your mental health – nothing boosts self-confidence and reduces stress faster than a good workout. Moreover, maintaining a consistent fitness routine will help you feel more energetic throughout the day.
Explore the various activities at your disposal until you find something you like! Maybe you will enjoy brisk walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, HIIT, or one of the many other exercises that are proven to benefit seniors. If you have any existing health challenges, speak with your healthcare provider. They might be able to offer some healthy, safe suggestions for exercise as well.
Eat for Energy
Another way to increase your daily energy is to modify your diet. As a basic rule of thumb, Healthline notes that a healthy senior diet involves a balance of all the essential nutrients. Consider the “clean eating” route, which centers around lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other unprocessed foods. If you’re not quite ready to go through a complete diet transformation, start by replacing one meal a day with clean foods.
As with the other tips on this list, sleep is a critical element of any healthy lifestyle. While it is perhaps most important for older adults, it also tends to be the most challenging.
Sleep is essential for resting, recharging, and processing the events of the day. A lack of sleep can reduce clarity of mind, limit productivity, worsen your mood, and even weaken your immune system – leaving you vulnerable to illness.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can develop a healthy sleep routine without having to rely on prescription medication. The key is to find out how to calm your mind and body before going to bed. Verywell Mind points out that many seniors benefit from deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, among other things. You might find that doing light yoga stretches while listening to soothing music will help you to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Or you could try reading a book (hardcopy, not on a tablet) or taking a long, relaxing bath before bed.
Furthermore, make sure your bedroom provides the atmosphere you need for a restful night’s sleep. Keep the temperature a little cooler than you would during the day, minimize external noises, and invest in blackout shades to help make your bedroom darker. Lastly, be sure to limit the amount of caffeine you drink in the afternoon and avoid any dinner foods that could cause indigestion and disrupt your sleep.
Keep in Touch
Seniors are especially prone to isolation, which can come with harrowing mental health consequences. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated.
Make a point to keep in touch with the people who matter most in your life, whether that means calling your family members on a regular basis, getting lunch with a long-time friend, or participating in activities around town that provide a platform for socializing. We are social beings, so we need community and interaction with others to live a healthy and fulfilled life – no matter our age!
Volunteer or Start a Nonprofit
Volunteering is another excellent way to boost your mental health because it naturally presents opportunities to socialize. It can also be very fulfilling because, at the end of the day, you are helping to improve the lives of others in your community.
Look for local organizations that support causes you believe in and try to volunteer as much as you can. If you can’t find a nonprofit you want to be involved with, start your own! Not only is this a great way to support your preferred cause, but it also ensures you stay active and busy. If you’re starting a nonprofit, registering as a nonprofit corporation will improve your chances of finding grants and obtaining public funding.
Simplify Your Life
Lastly, simplify your life where you can. Maybe that means taking a weekend to declutter your belongings and choosing what to keep, donate, sell, or toss. Ask family or friends to join in the process for some more quality time together!
If you want to take it a step further, evaluate your living situation. Is your house too big for your needs? Downsizing to a smaller home could help you live more comfortably day-to-day while also reducing your home maintenance responsibilities.
You deserve your golden years to be stress-free, joyful and fulfilling. Implementing these simple self-care strategies will help you build a firm foundation for a wonderful life as a senior. Continue to look into other ways to navigate common challenges and position yourself for a purposeful, content life as you continue to age. You’ll be grateful you did!