Guest blog: How to Perk up Your Perspective in Your Senior Years


-by Jason Lewis

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How to Perk up Your Perspective in Your Senior Years

Growing older can be challenging.  When age is taking a toll and changes come along that you never expected, sometimes it can feel as if the ground is shifting under your feet.  Thankfully, you can bring everything back into focus with a handful of well-chosen lifestyle decisions.

Activity for ability

With the changes that accompany aging, many seniors tend to become less active.  Unfortunately, being sedentary can complicate things, especially long-term.  In order to remain independent, it’s best to keep your body as strong and able as possible.  The positive effects are so profound, some experts even equate exercise with medicine for aging bodies.  Being fit can help ward of many health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.

Due to weather, difficulty with driving, and other factors, many seniors are reluctant to get out and about to get moving, but you don’t need to join a gym to stay active.  Instead, consider putting together a space at home where you can grab a workout at your convenience.  Maybe you have a spare bedroom or den that could be converted.  If space is tight, you can put furniture and other belongings in storage while you figure out what you want to do with it.  Use a search tool to find a nearby unit; for instance, River Campus Storage has 5’ x 5’ units available for $48, right in Rochester, so it’s an affordable resolution.

Do some decluttering

After clearing away space for your home gym, consider doing some decluttering throughout your home.  Clutter can mean tripping hazards as you grow older.  Daily Caring points out seniors are at increased risk for falls due to reduced strength, waning eyesight, poor balance, and lost flexibility.  On top of making it easier to get around your home, there are some surprising mental health benefits from decluttering, such as lowered anxiety levels, improved ability to focus, better productivity, and reduced stress.  Also, often lurking in clutter is an abundance of dust and germs, so tidying up can decrease troubles like allergies and illnesses.

Paring down can be challenging for seniors, especially if you have a lot of sentimental belongings.  Take your time, and choose a decluttering method that feels right for you, like filling one trash bag a day with items to donate to charity, or spending just five minutes at a time on decluttering.  In order to be able to focus your energy on paring down, think about hiring a housecleaning service for awhile.  That way when you’re stirring up dust and debris as you work, you won’t get bogged down with the housekeeping part of things.  The cost for hiring a cleaning service ranges from $60 to $340, with the national average coming in at $160.  While it might feel like a luxury, this could lead to a regular service that frees up your time and energy for more enticing activities.

Visit new places

Getting your home in order is a wonderful thing and it can make you much more comfortable being there.  However, it’s also important for seniors to try a change of scenery.  Orbitz cites research showing traveling can be a boost to your mental health.  It’s a chance to reframe your outlook, keep you from falling into a rut, and can even reduce your risk for depression.  Traveling is good for brain health because it challenges you to think differently and prompts you to use various parts of your brain.  It can also help you feel more positive, more relaxed, less stressed, and be more productive.

Of course, one important detail holds many seniors back from traveling: money.  Consider checking into your community for senior travel clubs.  It’s a great way to meet other seniors, keeping you socially active and connected, and some clubs focus on particular interests.  There are groups for women, or budget-oriented ones, or you can start your own club.  To give you an idea of costs, charter bus services run anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 a day, which can easily be split among a large group.

As you strive to enjoy your golden years, a few simple changes can help you feel more grounded.  Consider being more active, decluttering, and enjoying a little travel.  Making a few different choices can go a long way toward helping you perk up your perspective on life!

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Guest Blog: Self-Care: A Priceless Gift For You


by Brad Krause

selfcare

Who doesn’t appreciate an hour—or two—to relax and let your mind wander, indulge in a good book or your favorite TV show or chill in a hammock guilt-free? Alas, with all of life’s demands, whether it’s your job, family and other responsibilities, we tend to cancel or put off those activities that give us time to recharge. But self-care is critical for maintaining good mental, physical and emotional health.

Why?

Self-care helps you to stay connected with yourself and remind you of your self-worth, produce positive feelings, boost self-confidence and self-esteem. When you take time to take care of yourself, you’re setting a good example for your family while reminding them that your needs are important, too.

Self-care staves off stress that stems from working too much; contrary to popular belief, workaholism is not a virtue. Workaholism leads to mistakes, decreased productivity and utter exhaustion. Overworking becomes a slippery slope that can invite serious health issues including anxiety and depression, insomnia and heart disease.

Self-care prevents burnout from too much work, too many demands on your time and too many areas in which it’s all too easy to spread yourself too thin. When you’ve pushed yourself beyond that proverbial breaking point, you’re simply going through the motions and, let’s face it—everything suffers. Plus, taking that step back and physically taking a break, can often lead to a breakthrough. In fact, science has proven that taking breaks—and ensuring that you’re getting consistently restful sleep—will enhance your performance.

Self-care habits like taking breaks from work—eating lunch with a colleague or taking a stroll during a break—improve energy levels and your mood. Mobile technology makes it all too easy for us to stay connected 24-7, so make a conscious effort to unplug and set boundaries between work and personal time.

How to start

Whether you’re trying to cultivate a new self-care routine or looking for other ways to increase your mental and physical mojo, check out this list of stress management hacks. Try them out and tweak as you need, because it’s not a one-size-fits-all proposition:

Schedule time to exercise. Put it in your calendar like your kids’ activities and work meetings. If it’s already part of your daily routine, you’re more likely to follow through. Need help with accountability? Join the gym or a class with a friend or two. Too busy to hit the gym? Download  self-care apps, which will give you suggestions to get your move on—even if you only have five minutes to spare.

Eat well. It’s way too easy to hit the drive-through or grab a slice of leftover pizza. Instead, use your Crockpot or instant pot for easy meal cooking. Take a few hours on the weekend or a weeknight to plan and prep meals for a week or a month. If you find yourself reaching for comfort foods because they taste good (and they make you feel good), think about changing how you eat, too. Are you reaching for a box of cookies to reward yourself for a rough day, or consuming too many carbs at dinner because you skipped breakfast and lunch? Check out these suggestions on how to eat well.

Practice mindfulness to manage stress and help your body to relax. Think about it: What do we do, daily, to maintain our psychological health? During the day, take a minute to look at a picture or listen to a song that makes you happy and recharges your batteries. Take a stroll around the block, electronics-free, to feel the sunshine and connect with nature.

These resources from the Positive Psychology Program include worksheets and exercises to build mindfulness, including the self-compassion pause, self-inquiry meditation, five senses exercise, and mini-mindfulness exercises. Deep breathing techniques are another good way to reduce stress by turning off the chemicals your body releases when the fight or flight response activates.

Change your perspective

Value yourself—guilt-free. Prioritizing and taking care of yourself improves all aspects of your life. As you’re evaluating where and how to prioritize your self-care, also think about your social, financial, and workspace needs, too.

Photo Credit: pixabay.com