If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll always be stressed regardless of the activities you indulge in. Meditation won’t be effective if you aren’t getting enough sleep. In fact, you might doze off while trying to meditate because you aren’t taking care of the needs of your body. Also, hitting the gym once in a while won’t help you relieve stress if you are always consuming junk food. You need to take care of yourself to improve on different aspects of your life. In this post, we are going to focus on seniors and the activities that will help them stay active.
What is Self-care?
Self-care is defined as what individuals do to boost health to prevent illnesses. This view of self-care factors in hygiene, nutrition, environmental factors, and lifestyle. Here are five activities for seniors that support their physical and mental wellbeing. Let’s get started!
1. Connecting and socializing
Most senior Americans live alone. According to the Community Living Administration, an average of 28 percent of the elderly live alone. A financial investments firm did a study to distinguish between feeling lonely and being alone. The study showed that the majority of seniors are resilient and self-sufficient. And this makes them feel less lonely despite being isolated socially. This has been heightened by the forced quarantine and isolation during the pandemic. Here are some of the best ways for seniors to stay connected in the comfort of their home:
- Call a loved one: Not every connection has to be high-tech. Use your phone to connect with family, grandkids, and friends you haven’t been in touch with for some time.
- Chat with neighbors: You can make sure that the people who live close to you are doing well. While chatting, remember to keep your distance to avoid getting infected with the dangerous virus. Also, ask if they need assistance.
- Exercise regularly: You need to exercise regularly but safely. You can go out with a friend while ensuring that you keep a safe distance. You can also join an online exercise program to stay in shape. Exercising doesn’t mean lifting heavy weights or sprinting. A short walk around the neighborhood is just as effective.
- Join clubs and groups: Book clubs and discussion groups are now meeting online thanks to the rapid advancement of technology. You can also chat on Livestream that discusses subjects of interest. If you have to go out, always follow COVID-19 protocols.
- Spend time out: As you relax outside, you can interact with delivery guys or your neighbors. Keep your distance and encourage others to share their exciting stories with you.
- Use technology: Websites and apps can help in connecting people for various activities, conversations, movies, or even dinner. There are lots of sites and apps that will help you connect with family and friends.
Lots of studies have linked gratitude to a host of benefits. A research study conducted by Good Science Center found that these benefits include improved psychological and physical health, life satisfaction, greater happiness, less negativity, and high self-esteem. There are lots of simple tips that you can use to build your sense of gratitude. They include:
- Starting by giving thanks each day: Being thankful for shelter, good health, family, and friends is important. You should take time to savor the gratitude feeling.
- Give back: You can volunteer to chat with a community group or donate to charity. This will give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment as you connect with others.
- Keep a journal: You can write down anything from resting in the afternoon to having the opportunity to meet your loved ones. The key is identifying the things that you are grateful for.
- Practice mindfulness: Slowing down to appreciate all the small amazing things around you is key. It could be the voice of a loved one, the weather, or your favorite track. Mindfulness will bring comfort, clarity, and peace.
- Thank everyone: Smiling at strangers, opening a door for someone, or simply saying “thank you” can build a sense of gratitude.
- Sharing thankful messages: Writing letters or sending gifts to family and friends will enrich your life. Take a couple of minutes to express to them how you feel.
3. Practice relaxation and mindfulness
In recent years, most Americans are practicing mindfulness which has been traced back to the Buddhists. According to a study conducted by Mayo Clinic, mindfulness involves being aware of your senses, being in the moment, free from judgment and interpretation. This form of meditation involves breathing, guided imagery, and other methods to relax the body and mind thus relieving stress. Mindfulness and meditation have been linked to a wide range of benefits for seniors. Here are a few tips that will help you practice mindfulness every day:
- Go for a walk: Seeing, smelling, and hearing new things outside can relieve stress and help you relax.
- Listen to relaxing sounds and music: Calm piano music, gentle rain or a babbling water stream can greatly relieve you.
- Meditate: Finding a comfy chair in a quiet place or doing yoga can help you feel calm
- Practice controlled breathing: Deep breaths can slow your heart rate, enhance self-awareness, and lower blood pressure.
- Look at your surroundings: Seeing things that you’ve never absorbed before and appreciating how remarkable you are will boost your self-esteem.
- Turn off the TV and computer: Putting your electronic gadgets away will help you step away from stress-inducing circumstances and allow you to experience the timeless.
- Use apps: There are a lot of phone and computer apps that will guide you as you meditate. Some of the most popular apps include Calm, Breath, The Mindfulness App, and Headspace.
Prayer and meditation are similar to each other in some way. However, there are a few key differences. Meditation focuses on clearing an individual’s mind through a solitary journey while prayer involves using your thoughts and circumstances while building a relationship with high powers. Several articles and studies have reinforced the benefits of prayer and religious faith:
According to a study conducted by Gallup, most of the people who experienced positive mental changes were those who attended services at their places of worship.
An article written by CNN reported that prayer can reduce feelings of anxiety, fear, isolation, and stress. The article noted that prayer is linked to feelings of encouragement, peace, and social support. There are lots of ways that you can pray since different faiths require different methods such as using schedules and specific texts. Some common ways to pray include:
- Pray at a particular time: A morning prayer sets the tone of the day and allows you to look forward to the upcoming challenges. An evening prayer helps in giving gratitude for the day.
- Journal praying: This involves summing up your daily thoughts and turning them into prayer.
- Praying informally: This can be at a quiet time during the day or while taking a short walk. You should express your thoughts and emotions without using religious language.
- Silent prayer: Prayer is not just about communicating with the Almighty but about hearing too. Use this time to listen attentively.
- Pray with friends: Teaming up with friends will help you become accountable and encourage you to ask for your teammates’ prayers. You’ll also be blessed for praying for other people.
- Your heart: What is troubling you? What are you fighting against? What are you thinking about? This is a great place to start when you pray.
5. Read a book
Reading has been linked to decreased heart rate, low blood pressure, and a reduction in stress by the University of Sussex. You only need to read for six minutes to reduce stress by close to 68 percent. Reading can help you learn new things or escape to a different world. If you don’t know where to start, here are a few sites that offer the most interesting books according to your tastes and preferences:
- Bookish: This site has articles with lists of books that you should read together with recommendations
- Goodreads: You can list the books that you’ve read, what you want to read, and connect to other people to find out what they are reading. You’ll also receive recommendations according to your tastes and preferences.
- LibraryThing: This is another popular list builder that will help you stay on track of your owned books and those on your wish list. Upon sign up, you should fill in your preferences to get a list of recommendations.
- Which book: The site can search for the books you want depending on your location, mood, or characters in the book. If you want to save money, there are lots of free sites such as Open Culture, Free E-books, Project Gutenberg, Book Bub, and Open Library. If you love listening to audiobooks, you can find some at LibriVox, Audible, and Open Culture.
This is the best time for seniors to schedule a time to focus on their physical, mental, and spiritual needs. Even when you have lots of things to do, squeezing some time for self-care will pay off in spades.
Nick van Migrot is a professional content writer and a member of several writing clubs in Los Angeles, California. He also provides at essay help and assignment help as a part of his hobby. Nick is interested in topics such as business, hospitality, finance, and marketing. He is the father of a lovely toddler and a passionate long-distance runner. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter.