Healthy choices are not always easy to make; when you have a busy schedule or a lot of stress, you may find yourself not getting enough sleep or eating comfort foods that do not have much nutritional value.
For people over 50, making healthy decisions can significantly affect physical and mental health, so it is essential to think about how your actions will keep you feeling your best. Getting daily exercise, sleeping well, and learning the best ways to relax when stress rears its ugly head are all great ways to take control of your well-being.
It is also a good idea to think about your social life, especially if you're retired. It's often difficult for seniors to remain as social as they'd like when they no longer go to work every day, but maintaining friendships and connections can greatly benefit your mood and mental health. Social interaction can stave off loneliness and even depression. Often, you can mix social activities with physical ones — such as joining a walking group with some friends — so you'll be able to work on two aspects of your health simultaneously.
Here are a few things to consider when it comes to your overall well-being.
Get Familiar with Your Insurance Benefits
Many people have found helpful when it comes to getting healthy is taking advantage of the benefits provided by their health insurance. If you have Medicare, signing up for an Advantage plan can give you access to dental and vision care that you may not get with Parts A or B, and you can also enroll in the SilverSneakers program, which will help you stay active with exercise classes and sports programs geared toward older adults.
Do some research on your policy, and make the necessary changes during open enrollment. If you are not yet Medicare age, be sure to speak with your parents and see if they can take advantage of this program.
Learn How to Breathe
Breathing is something we do without much thought, but did you know that there are exercises you can do that will help you relax and boost your brain health at the same time? Breathing workouts allow you to focus on the moment and calm down, which can reduce stress and anxiety, and the extra oxygen can help your brain and blood cells stay healthy and vital.
Look for exercises that will fit your needs; various workouts can be completed outdoors or indoors, sitting or standing.
Get Better Sleep
Many Americans do not realize just how much their sleep schedule affects them throughout the day, but everything from our moods to our heart health can take a hit without adequate rest.
Come up with a sleep schedule and routine that will allow you to rest both your body and mind after a long day. Developing practices like removing caffeine from your diet, performing a relaxing activity just before bed, or creating an atmosphere in your bedroom that will help you unwind will be beneficial. Calming colors, soothing music, and dimmed lights can all play a positive role in the way you rest.
Get Out More
The way you interact with friends and loved ones can have a big effect on your health; studies have shown that seniors who stay social are far less likely to suffer from depression and chronic disease. Not only that, but it’s also just more fun! Get involved in your community, head to the library or local coffee shop with a friend or set a picnic date with your family at a nearby park. The more you can do outside of the house, the better you'll feel.
Your New Business Can lead to Self-Actualization
Besides an enjoyable pastime, starting a hobby business helps us reach our potential, which leads to self-actualization. The concept of self-actualization is one we've all heard, but many are unfamiliar with. It's not just about being content - it's about not having any regrets.
That's why older adults are starting their own businesses now more than ever. In fact, in 2018, over 1 in 4 businesses were started by seniors, so age isn't an excuse to start on the path to your dream career.
If you've been feeling stagnant lately, think back to which parts of your job you most enjoyed and try to implement those along with the other things you love into your new business. Even a hobby or pastime can be a fundamental part of your new career. So, think about a plan, research different business structures (starting an LLC is one example that many businesses use), and find a way to transform something you love into something that can make you money.
Healthy choices do not have to be stressful ones. By taking the time to think about your specific needs and how to meet them, you will be creating routines that you can easily stick with for years while keeping your mental and physical health a priority.