For many people, the start of a new year signals the desire for a fresh start and making changes that lead to more successful, happy, and healthier lifestyles than the previous year. One way many people chose to do this is through establishing New Year’s Resolutions which involve establishing good practices, changing a behavior, or accomplishing a personal goal at the beginning of a calendar year.
Setting New Year’s Resolutions can be very valuable for seniors. Resolutions can serve as goals, providing an increased sense of purpose. Making positive changes in your life and sticking with them, no matter how large or small, can lead to impactful outcomes.
The challenge lies in putting those resolutions into action and maintaining the momentum throughout the year. If you are a senior, here are some resolutions you may consider implementing as 2024 begins to nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Or, you may wish to share these ideas with your senior loved ones and find ways to help them stay accountable.
Resolution 1: Incorporate Gentle Movement and Flexibility
Being active has many benefits for people of all ages. Finding ways to incorporate movement and flexibility to your daily routine can not only help improve your physical well-being, but also your mental health. For seniors, exercise can also help prevent or manage chronic conditions, reduce the risk of falls and injuries, and enhance your quality of life.
This year, one way you can change your lifestyle is by dedicating 10 minutes each day to light exercise or movement. There are many options that you can chose from to help improve or maintain your physical wellbeing in a way that can be tailored to your individual abilities.
If you or your loved ones are looking for ways to incorporate movement and flexibility in your life, we have compiled a list of 10 easy exercises for seniors that you can do at home with little or no equipment and with varying levels of intensity.
Resolution 2: Fill Your Plate with More Nutritious Foods
As you get older, it’s important to eat nutrient-rich foods, especially as you may find yourself consuming less calories. The foods and drinks you choose each day can help you maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. A good starting point for this resolution would be to aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. You may also choose to reduce or remove unhealthy foods from your diet, such as added sugar, saturated fats, and foods with high levels of sodium, and replace them with alternative options. Your healthcare provider also can guide you in making healthier food choices.
Resolution 3: Spend Time Doing Activities to Stimulate Your Mind
One of the best ways to stay alert and promote brain health as you age is by providing yourself with new ideas and challenges to face every day. There are many different ways to stimulate the mind and improve mental skills and cognition. Every individual is unique, and the tasks you prefer may differ from someone else’s preferred tasks. Some of the most common and effective tasks chosen by seniors are exercises such as board games and jigsaw puzzles, arts and crafts, listening to music, or even reading a book. There are many options to chose from and you may want to try out several until you find one that you enjoy the most and make sure you carve out time each day to dedicate to your task.
Also, keep in mind that mental stimulation does not have to be complex.
Resolution 4: Place Emphasis on Nurturing Your Relationships
Nurturing relationships is extremely valuable for seniors. Social connections can help you improve your mental health by lessening feelings of loneliness and reducing the risk of depression. Fostering meaningful relationships with your friends and family can offer you a sense of purpose and belonging.
In the coming year, you may choose to prioritize your well-being by taking steps to enhance your social relationships. You can dedicate at least 10 minutes per day reaching out to friends or family, by partaking in social outings, using technology for communication with loved ones who may be far away, such as phone calls, FaceTime, social media, or even emails, or finding way to get involved in groups. Studies have shown that increasing social behaviors can have a positive impact on your overall health.
Resolution 5: Foster a Positive Mindset Each Day
Research shows that having a positive mindset can have many health benefits, such as lower risk of memory loss, quicker recovery from illness or injury, a lower risk of chronic disease, decreased feelings of loneliness and isolation, and an increased likelihood for seeking preventative care.
There are many ways to incorporate positive thinking exercises into your daily routine. Some common ways to do so include making a gratitude list, practicing mindful breathing, starting your day with positive affirmations, or performing small acts of kindness for others.
As a new year begins, many people aim to make positive changes in their lives. This is often done through setting New Year’s Resolutions, and for seniors, these resolutions can be valuable as they serve as goals that provide a sense of purpose. Making positive changes, regardless of size, can have a meaningful impact. You may consider specific resolutions for 2024 to nurture your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, such as incorporating gentle movement, focusing on nutritious foods, engaging in activities that stimulate the mind, prioritizing relationships, and fostering a positive mindset. These resolutions, though simple, have the potential to significantly improve your well-being in the coming year.