Being senior does not have to be equated with being helpless and unhappy. In fact, it should be seen as a time for self-fulfillment, freedom, and happiness. It is true that age brings with it a set of new challenges that one is often unprepared for. These challenges may be physiological, psychological, emotional, financial or social. But they can all be handled and managed if one has the right approach from the beginning.
One has to remember that more often than not getting old is also an opportunity to live life on one’s own terms, independent of domestic responsibilities and work pressures. But if not handled well, it can also turn into a depressive period of loneliness and emotional stress.
Through this blog, we will try to bring you some simple ways to stay healthy, happy and deal with the challenges of old age.
Two important pillars of self-fulfillment in old age are health and happiness. In fact, both these pillars are interdependent on each other. When one is happy, it helps one stay healthy and when one is healthy, it is easier to be happy. And both of them stem from the state of your mind and can be inculcated even with small steps.
Some of the things that one can practice are given below. You can start by adopting some of them in small steps and then build them into a habit at your own pace.
- Discipline: Even if you are retired and don’t have any timing compulsions, it is more important to build a disciplined routine around your daily chores. Start by making sure that you eat and sleep on time. Yes, you should have all your meals at the same time every day. You should also make sure that you go to bed and get up at the same time everyday, to make sure you get good quality sleep for six to eight hours daily. Once you get regular with these habits, it will be easier to weave in other habits into your routine.
- Healthy eating: While it is good to eat healthy at any age, your body’s tolerance to deal with unhealthy foods reduces with age. It is important to understand your body’s needs and reactions to various foods and try to consume only what is good for your body. This may include fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and simple home-cooked food. You may consult your doctor/dietician to understand what is good for your own body – your heart, your kidneys, your liver and so on. This would also include stopping or reducing the consumption of unhealthy things like sugary drinks, desserts, alcohol, nicotine, etc. An important thing to remember is – whatever you do, do it in moderation. Even healthy food should be eaten in small portions. Overeating is also a big cause of disease in old age.
- Physical activity: It is important to include some exercise or physical activity in your daily routine. Even if you are not someone who has been physically very active or a natural athlete in younger days, you need not despair. It is never too late to start. Start by taking small steps – a short walk, some light exercise, some yoga (chair yoga or yoga walking), or some floor exercises. (Please note that before you indulge in any serious exercise, please consult your doctor about its effects on your body.) Physical activity is not only good for your body, but it also stimulates your brain and helps to bring about a positive mindset. Relate this to point 1 above, and make sure you exercise at the same time every day. It will make it more effective when you do it at the same time every day just like you brush your teeth.
- Social life: Many studies have proved that people who have an active social life in their old age, are happier and healthier than those who don’t. People who build strong relationships within and outside their families, tend to live longer. So, even if you have spent your whole life working hard and not been very active socially, it is never too late to start. Spend time with your family, your friends, your neighbors, your community and in community service, to build and strengthen your relationships with people.
- Hobbies: All of us have some hobbies and interests, but only a lucky few are able to pursue and practice them during their adult life when priorities of one’s career, family and other responsibilities take precedence. Our old age gives us an opportunity to revive some of these interests and develop them further. This can go a long way in keeping you happy and healthy.
- Meditation, prayer, and gratitude: Some of these practices if included in your daily routine, can provide very good nutrition for our emotional and spiritual beings. If you already practice them, you may want to increase the time you spend on them as you get older. If you don’t have them in your routine, you may want to start with baby steps and build on them gradually. We will share more ideas around some of these areas in our posts in the future. At Happy60plus, we provide you with opportunities and information about most of these areas. We also conduct activities to help create awareness and introduce our members to some of these areas. We also have partnerships and tie-ups with other organizations that provide these services, with special offers for our members.
We will look forward to your comments, feedback, and suggestions on how to make your life richer and more fulfilling as you advance in age. Please feel free to share this with your friends and family members who may be interested.