In your younger days, taking care of yourself probably wasn’t top of mind. You had more energy, and your body was more resilient. But as you grow older, taking care of yourself becomes more of a priority.
You need to make time to recharge your batteries so you can engage with life. That doesn’t mean simply setting aside more time for naps and bubble baths. It’s about caring for your physical, mental and spiritual health. In other words, self-care.
By taking time to engage in self-care, you can reduce stress, improve energy and increase happiness. Self-care for seniors can also reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. And from a spiritual standpoint, it can help you realize meaning and give purpose to life. To help you make self-care a part of your daily life, consider the following self-care tips for seniors.
9 self-care tips for seniors
1. It’s OK to ask for help.
No one likes to ask for help, especially as you grow older. For some people, it’s a sign of weakness. But asking for help is a sign of strength. By accepting help, you’re allowing others to feel needed and trusted, which makes them feel great.
Toughing it out and dealing with stuff on your own isn’t the way to a healthy life. Achieving goals together and acknowledging our interdependence is key to mental and physical health.
2. Try to laugh more often.
Seeing the lighter side of life is good for your health. It reduces inflammation and stress, improves circulation, and enhances the immune system. Laughter may even improve your memory. So take a break from the bad news and do what tickles your funny bone. Read a hilarious book. Watch a comedy. Spend time with people who make you laugh. It really is the best medicine.
3. Stretch your muscles.
A daily stretching routine can improve strength, balance and flexibility. It may even help you feel less stressed, sleep better, and provide relief for that aching back. Yoga classes are great for learning how to stretch safely and effectively. Plus, you’ll meet people who’ll help you stick with your self-care practice.
4. Make exercise a habit.
Regular physical exercise is vital for healthy aging. It can prevent a lot of the health problems that seem to come with age. And it can help you maintain your independence and ability to keep on doing the things that make you happy. Try to do moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 150 minutes a week (about 20 minutes a day) and muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. If that’s too much, do what you can. Some physical activity is better than none.
5. Eat a more plant-based diet.
Putting more plants — fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains — on your plate and fewer animal products can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancer, including breast, colon and prostate. You need only look at cultures where rice and vegetables are staples to see how it leads to lower rates of serious illness. So consider cutting back on burgers, barbecue and milkshakes. You’ll feel better and so will the animals.
6. Stress less with meditation.
Meditation teaches you how to react to stress and negative thoughts. Mindfulness meditation may also reduce anxiety and depression, improve memory and cognition, and help you get a better night’s sleep. It’s no wonder more older adults are meditating every day. Instead of worrying about the future, meditation helps you focus on the present and realize, “In this moment, I am OK.”
7. Find your groove with music.
Listening to music is a wonderful tool for self-care. It can encourage you to be more physically active, whether you’re working out at the gym or getting in the groove on the dance floor. It connects you to warm memories and strong emotions from your past. And it can help you create a space for calm and reflection when you need an emotional lifesaver. Therapists recommend you pick one or two songs to listen to, preferable with good quality headphones, then close your eyes for five minutes and relax. Over time, it’ll help reduce stress and create a sacred space of refuge.
8. Give the best hours of your day to yourself.
What one- or two-hour period in each day do you feel your best? Your most energetic? Your most productive? Use that time to focus on your priorities rather than someone else’s. Give yourself time every day to focus on your personal goals and values.
9. Help someone else.
Our bodies and minds benefit in a variety of ways when we help others. Studies show that having a strong sense of purpose protects us from stress in the short term and predicts long-term better health. If traditional forms of self-care feel too self-focused to you, think about how helping others can be good for you.
Supporting quality of life is what we’re all about.
At Rolling Green Village, residents’ health is our top priority. It’s why we offer a comprehensive wellness program that supports physical, emotional, social, intellectual, vocational, environmental and spiritual wellness, in addition to providing a full range of health services on-site.
To learn more about our holistic approach to wellness, and how it helps residents live healthier and happier, get in touch.