Self-Care Activities for Seniors

Advice For Seniors

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The right self-care activities can help you feel your best and meet your health goals.

When you think of health and wellness as you age, what habits or activities come to mind? While most people think of staying physically fit with plenty of exercise and healthy eating, there is a lot more to holistic wellness than regular walks around the block and salads for dinner. In fact, more and more research is pointing to the fact that healthy aging isn’t just focusing on the physical aspect of life, but also the mental, emotional, spiritual, and purposeful sides of life as well.

One way to ensure you are feeling your best is to focus on different self-care activities that can decrease stress, increase socialization, and leave you feeling in control of your life and health. Ready to get started? Here are a few ideas that might inspire you to pick up a new habit or return to a former favorite hobby.

Why Self-Care Is Important

Self-care is a buzzword that many connect with yoga classes or trips to the spa. However, any activity that brings you feelings of joy, empowerment and accomplishment can count as self-care and help you reach your wellness goals. 

Self-care activities increase the opportunity to socialize and connect with others. The tie between cognitive health, physical health, and regular socialization with peers is becoming stronger. Research over the past decade has only shown us what we have always known: lonely seniors are unhealthy seniors. Older adults who have meaningful relationships with peers (not just family members) are less likely to experience cognitive decline and can have a better immune system response, less heart disease, and less depression or anxiety. Further, self-care activities can increase feelings of control and empowerment, which are often harder to come by as we age. Finally, self-care activities can decrease stress and the health challenges that arrive with prolonged stress.

Emotional and Mental Self-Care Activity Inspiration

Your self-care activities are going to look different than the activities that your neighbor enjoys doing, and that is okay. You might also have to try multiple activities for a few weeks before you decide what you really enjoy doing and what you don’t, and that is okay too. Part of the fun is getting to know yourself and what brings you feelings of peace, happiness, and comfort.

Looking for where to start? Here are a few ideas that you might enjoy researching and pursuing.

Start a Weekly Hiking Group

This activity idea covers a few bases all at once. First, you get the opportunity to move your body naturally, which is one of the foundations of longevity from the Blue Zones research. Next, you are creating an opportunity to socialize with friends in a non-intimidating way. Finally, you are getting out in nature, which can make you feel better, decrease stress, and increase sensory stimulation. Don’t worry if you are a hiking beginner. Most towns have well-maintained, easy to use trail systems that anyone can conquer.

Start a Gratitude Journal

The simple daily practice of gratitude can leave you feeling less stressed and more purposeful, decreasing anxiety and depression. Getting started is easy. You just need to make writing down three things you are thankful for a part of your morning or evening routine. You can use a journal to jot down your thankfulness or even use the notes app on your smartphone. Give it three weeks – we know you’ll notice the difference in how you feel by then.

Try Mindfulness 

Mindfulness, or sitting still and calming your thoughts, can do wonders for your stress levels throughout the day. You don’t have to develop a habit of long meditation sessions in order to get the benefits. In fact, a quick 3-5 minutes each day can help you feel great. Get started by using an app, like Headspace, to build up your stamina.

Try Wordle

Right now, Wordle is all the rage. It’s a word game where you have six tries to guess the 5-letter word of the day. However, you don’t have to just play Wordle in order to get the cognitive benefits. You can incorporate any kind of cognitive stimulation into your day and see the benefits in just a few months. Try doing a word puzzle, reminiscing, journaling, or even working through algebra worksheets.

A Book Club can help you feel inspired while connecting with new friends

Start a Book Club

Attending a book club can help you foster social connections while holding you accountable to read a book a month. Reading a new book can increase cognitive health as well as make you feel more creative and inspired.

Pick Up a Creative Hobby

Even if you feel like you aren’t creative, there is certainly an artist within you. Try attending local workshops through your town’s senior center for creative activities like pottery, painting, or woodworking. Making something with your hands makes you feel proud and like you can conquer anything.

Talk to a Therapist

Therapy visits are a wonderful self-care activity and you don’t need to feel “broken” to go. In fact, attending therapy can help you feel confident and empowered as it gives you the chance to talk through your current struggles and develop coping skills that will last for years to come.

Get Organized

Finally, clearing the clutter in your home can often help your mental load feel lighter as well. Try to organize a closet or sift through possessions to determine what no longer serves you. You’ll find that you feel refreshed and energized once you do.

For Your Physical Health

Of course, self-care isn’t all about socialization, creativity, and mindfulness. A good, well-rounded self-care plan also includes paying attention to your physical health too. Here are some things you can incorporate into your daily, weekly, or monthly routine that will leave you feeling great.

Watch your Plate

You are what you eat, which means you want to eat foods that will fuel your body for healthy days ahead. Talk to your physician about getting a referral to a nutritionist so you can learn what foods you should eat more of, and how you can incorporate those foods into your daily meals. When in doubt, aim for “eating the rainbow” at each meal by focusing on fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Get Moving – Indoors and Out

Daily movement is key to good mental and physical health. No matter if you are in great shape or just starting out, you should aim to purposefully move your body every day. Try walking up and down your home’s stairs, strolling around the neighborhood a few times per day, or even signing up for a walk/run race in a few months that will give you something to train for. 

Once you have your walking game on point, you can choose other movement to add to your routine, like swimming, yoga, or tai chi. If you prefer to exercise with friends, take a group fitness class together or sign up for your town’s pickleball or tennis league.

Explore Supplements, Including CBD

Most people can’t get everything they need out of a well-rounded diet. Sometimes, a vitamin or supplement can make a big difference. Speak with your physician about what vitamins or supplements might benefit you. Then, work them into your daily routine one at a time so you can determine if you are having any reactions to them. You can even inquire about using CBD in your daily routine for better sleep or less anxiety. Always though, speak to your physician before adding any supplements or CBD to your diet to be sure there will be no adverse effects with medications you may already be taking.

The Connection Between Self-Care and Safety

Practicing self-care can help you feel healthy and meet your wellness goals. But the right approach to self-care can also keep you safer as you age. For example, focusing on physical health can lead to better strength and endurance, which can lead to a decreased risk of falling. 

Millions of seniors fall each year, but you can decrease your risk by participating in activities that help you get better sleep, help you have better balance, and help prevent cognitive decline. You can be proactive about your health by participating in self-care activities as well as using systems and devices that can keep you healthy and safe.

For example, medical alert systems and fall detection devices are wise items to have in your home and on your person. This way, if you ever need assistance, you have an easy way to access it.

Here’s to positive self-care habits and proactively caring for your health! It’s always a good idea to wear your medical alert device while being active. We suggest reading our Lifeline reviews to find the perfect device for you.