Self-Care Tips for a Higher Quality of Life
Lucille Ball was onto something when she said "Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” As an aging senior, self-care can get pushed to the back burner, especially when your to-do list involves caring for a spouse or relative or dealing with your own health issues and appointments. The quality of your life, however, is directly affected by how you care for and embrace your own Golden Years.
Preventing Illness and Injury
Exercising is the type of self-care that really gets your heart rate up. Moderate physical fitness and daily care routines both help address joint and back pain as well as combat heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Preventative self-care measures like routine fitness reduce muscle inflammation, boost blood circulation, help you maintain a healthy weight and produce endorphins (which make you feel good!). Regular exercise can include activities like 20-minute brisk walks, hiking, swimming, dancing, and practicing yoga.
Eating well actually qualifies as self-care too! Incorporating healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains into your diet promotes good health and prevents illness. For the elderly, eating well and staying hydrated can be a challenge - lack of appetite, trouble cooking, and lack of access to fresh foods can all lead to poor diet and dehydration. Prioritizing healthy eating takes initiative, whether it’s asking a caregiver to pick up specific foods, setting reminders to drink water throughout the day, or finding a food delivery alternative with healthy options.
Taking steps in self-care to declutter your environment has unexpected benefits. Not only does clearing your space of clutter to promote clarity and peace in your environment, but ridding your home of unnecessary “things” can help prevent falls, which are one of the most common injuries amongst people over 65.
Finding Peace of Mind
Self-care starts with self-actualization, the drive and potential realized within yourself to exist and be loved. Mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation comprise the area of self-care that focuses on helping you find peace of mind. Relaxation techniques and repeated deep breathing practices also cultivate a mindset that combats feelings of stress, anxiety, and frustration that often accompany old age.
Prioritize self-soothing practices geared towards providing calm and relaxation, especially before bed. Focus on feeding all your senses by doing things like listening to soothing music, rubbing lotion on your hands and feet, lighting a candle with a fragrance you love, or coloring a visually appealing image.
Self-care that fosters connectedness with others helps combat social isolation and feelings of loneliness that elderly people often have. Spending time with friends, skyping with a grandchild, or even speaking for a few minutes on the phone with another person every day are great starting places. Helping others through volunteer service or donations also treats your soul to a little self-care.
Don’t forget to get goofy! Uninhibited play that makes you feel like a kid again, every day even for just a few minutes, is guaranteed to boost your happiness levels. Spending therapeutic time with a calm animal like a dog or cat, and even getting down to boogie to your favorite song seem like such simple ideas, but are so fundamental to loving yourself and having fun with life.