I’m resurfacing after three weeks of a respiratory virus that sure seemed Covid-like even though I tested negative. I haven’t been sick for a long time; it reinforced just how crucial wellness and vitality are to quality of life.
I could not do any of the things that bring me joy, much less think straight. So, let’s recommit to taking the actions that will influence our health-span so we can enjoy every minute of this precious life.
Well-being and energy comprise the first area for us to explore as we seek to influence our “health span.” It is all about our fitness, diet, managing stress, play and living a life that energizes us.
In a way, this is the most challenging area to influence because we all already know what constitutes a good diet, that we need a good night’s sleep, and that we “should” be more active, at least walk more. Right?
The key is to pick one action and follow through. Your inner wisdom knows the most important action you can take for yourself. Let’s break it down into four areas of action; pick one and make a commitment to do something good for yourself.
How can you get into the “virtuous cycle” of feeling good from being active… rather than being even more stuck to the chair because it is just so comfy? We are not 30-something with a marathon goal –unless we are! We need to make our activity goal fun.
If you love being in the company of others, how about learning to belly dance? Learning ballroom, salsa, or tango is fun and good for your brain. Perhaps join a walking group or meet a friend twice a week for a “walk and quack.”
Of course, there are classes at the fitness center. Just be sure you truly are motivated to go before committing. The point is to honor your personal style and comfort so you will follow through. What you will find on the other side is that you will crave the positive benefits of whatever activity you choose.
You might begin with small things like making a game out of parking as far from the store as you can in the parking lot. Online yoga, qigong, or tai chai movement also reduce stress. Or, become addicted to your fitness tracker, like me.
Finally, taking up an activity that you have always wanted to do, ideally with others, is a great solution. Hiking? Biking? Bowling? What else? Match yourself with others like you, rather than constantly comparing yourself to others younger or more advanced than you are.
What works for you? Then, decide to make it so one day at a time.
I am certain that we all already know what constitutes healthy habits. So, this is just a reminder of the basics. What would you add?
What other tips do you have to share with everyone?
This area is a game-changer! What can you do to allow life to be as it is in the present?
Of the meditation practices, research has shown Transcendental Meditation to have the most measurable benefits. TM is total relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day. Find a teacher to get started. Of course, other forms of mediation are helpful too. Do you have a meditation practice?
Exercise reduces stress, so being active has added bonus benefits.
Play also reduces stress.
Play is not just for kids. If it works for you, think of what feels playful to you. Play can activate the release of endorphins to increase your sense of well-being, ease pain and even improve brain function.
What is one way you might play? I play when I am with my Dragon Boat sisters. I play when I create in the kitchen. My girlfriend plays when she belly dances. Sewing can be play, or arts and crafts.
What is your play?
My husband and I go around and around about this. My reading indicates that we do NOT need less sleep; we still need our 7-8 hours.
The problem is that many of us over 60 have problems with insomnia or other sleep disorders. Is this true for you?
Good sleep habits can help us get a good night’s rest, including REM sleep, unless there are physical conditions to be addressed. For me, a nightly wind down ritual, skipping the night cap drink, and getting up at the same time helps a lot.
Another trick I just learned is to go outside for a couple of minutes first thing in the morning. Somehow, this helps your body clock know when it is time to go to sleep again that night.
What are your tips?
Trying to make many changes in your life adds stress and follow through is a challenge. Try one small change. You might be surprised at the outcome! You know what you can do to enhance your life in the well-being and energy vitality domain. We know ourselves, how we feel and our habits.
What might be the first step to well-being and energy for you? What one thing are you ready to commit to? If it is an activity, what would it be? If it is play, what would you choose?