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Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy In Your Golden Years

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Tips for Staying Healthy and Happy In Your Golden Years

There are a number of myths regarding aging.  Some people may mistakenly believe that aging inevitably involves getting sick or disabled, while others may think that all adults face memory loss in their later years.  Even more people may think that once you reach a certain age, there is less that you can contribute to society and that you are done learning.  All of these beliefs are absolutely false.  In fact, many people find that the years following retirement are filled with health, vitality, and meaning.  Since we are all going to get to those golden years eventually, here are a few tips to consider that may help to make that stage of life some of the best years you’ll ever have.

1- Keep your mind sharp

Your mind is like any muscle in your body; the more you exercise it, the stronger it will be.  In earlier years, it may have been easy to keep your mind active while problem-solving at work or at home, but as you age, though, you may need to plan specific activities to engage the mind.  Some of the best ways to exercise the mind is by learning a new skill or hobby.  Consider learning a foreign language.  If you’ve always regretted never learning to play the piano, take a class.  Reading is also a great way to keep the mind growing and learning, so either join or form a book club in your area to allow yourself the opportunity to discuss ideas and thoughts regarding the books you are reading.

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2- Volunteer

Volunteering is one of the best ways to give your life meaning and purpose.  As you help others, you can feel a greater gratitude for the things that you have and a greater connection to the people around you.  No matter where you live, there are sure to be boundless volunteer opportunities.  Visit a local elementary school for opportunities to reach out to the children in your community and help them to learn and succeed.  Local government and nonprofit agencies are also often in great need of help.  Contact hospitals in your area for more ideas on how you can serve.

3- Eat well

A body needs proper fuel to remain strong and active.  As you age, your digestive system tends to slow down, and as a result, foods that are high in fiber are of special importance.  At the same time, older adults are more susceptible to dehydration, so it is important that you drink a lot of water every day.  In addition, don’t let meal times become boring or lonely—make an effort to make your food look and taste good even if you are only cooking for one or two.  Seek out other adults to spend meal time with so that you can enjoy social interaction while you are enjoying your food.

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4- Stay in touch with loved ones and friends

For some, aging equals loneliness and isolation.  As children leave home and move away, you leave the workforce and the relationships you built there, and friends and loved ones pass away, it may become easy to feel lost or forgotten.  It is vital that you continue to stay in touch with those you care about—your role in their lives may be different, but it can be equally important.  Learn to use technology to stay connected.  Spend time emailing friends, children, and grandchildren.  Resurrect the lost art of letter-writing by regularly writing to loved ones who have moved away.

5-Exercise

Even if you have never participated in regular exercise, it’s never too late to start.  Before beginning a new exercise program, however, it is important that you get your doctor’s permission.  After visiting with your doctor, find some form of activity that interests you and that you like to participate in.  Look for health clubs that have classes especially for older adults.  Exercising does not have to be overly strenuous either; going for a brisk walk every day could be a great way to stay healthy and active.

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6- Stay Positive

So much of how we feel is dependent upon our thoughts.  Sometimes the best way to fight discouragement and loneliness is by reminding yourself of all of the things that you have to be grateful for every day.  Moreover, try to find something to laugh about as you go about your day.  If you find yourself facing severe discouragement or depression, seek out professional help right away to assess whether or not you may be facing senior depression.

The possibilities and adventures that await as you enter your golden years are endless.  Seek out new experiences and enjoy the opportunities that you never had time to pursue before.  By doing so, you can make the later years of your life some of the most exciting, meaningful years of you have ever experienced.

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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