Having a healthy lifestyle includes getting plenty of exercise, eating well, not smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, establishing a healthy sleep routine, and keeping up with regular appointments with your doctor. In addition to these, there are other things you can do to care for your body and spirit.
Take a break from caregiving – If you are a full time caregiver, you know the emotional and physical demands of this role. Encourage independence in the person you care for and try to distinguish between what the person can handle alone and the things the person needs you for. Accept help from others; take advantage of resources in your community that can ease your load such as transportation and meal delivery. Don’t compromise on sleep, exercise or healthy eating. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for those who need you.
Pamper yourself – Treat yourself to a massage, manicure or bubble bath. Escape to a movie or concert. Meet a friend for a cup of coffee or lunch.
Take care of your spirit – This is different for everyone, but for Christians, it is a time for religious observance, reading scripture and going to God in prayer. Enjoy God’s bountiful beauty in nature admiring the ocean or wildlife around us. Staying connected to your inner spirit and the lives of those around you can enhance your quality of life. Your spirituality forms the basis of your well-being, helps you cope with stressors, and affirms your purpose in life.
Stay curious – Continue to learn by taking adult or continuing education classes. Learn how to paint or do ceramics. Read a book about an unfamiliar topic. Traveling is also another way to expand your horizons and gain new perspectives.
Laugh – Laugh loud and often; it truly is the best medicine. Be silly with your grandkids, nieces and nephews. Have fun and spend time with friends that make you laugh.
Practice optimism – Think positively and find solutions and silver linings while refraining from letting hard times affect all aspects of your life.
Try to let go of any guilt you may feel when you take time for yourself. It’s not selfish or lazy to prioritize things you enjoy; it’s taking care of yourself. The choices you make now can help you transform your health, your relationships and your life for decades to come. Make them strong choices and you can enjoy positive aging for the remainder of your life.