Being Kind to Yourself is Living a Healthy Life

OK Boomers and Seniors, time to stop messing around!  We live our life and continually throw more into it thus complicating it more than it needs to be by adding activities that just aren’t sustainable.  Take exercise for example.  We all jump into the craze of being more fit and healthy, which actually is the way it should be.  The first couple of days are usually fine because whatever you’re doing is new and you’re motivated.  But shortly after, we fall into the slump of “why bother” and “this just isn’t for me.”  “You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling” and it’s just not that much fun, so our motivation dwindles. After all, we’re trying to maintain relationships, be sociable, look after our family, clean our house as much as we hate to, go grocery shopping, and the list goes on and on.  Those are all must-do’s, so it’s no wonder we eventually can’t find time for exercise—the ultimate gift of being kind to yourself.  You would think we would learn our lesson after so many years, but that’s what resolutions are all about.  Well meaning efforts that just don’t make it.

With that in mind, I found some amazing research online that might just be the ticket when exercise is not your highest priority, where you can still add healthy habits into your life that don’t take up too much time and will get you on a healthier path.  Remember, health isn’t just about fitness, it’s also about your relationships—with yourself and the people around you—your mental well-being and your lifestyle.

So, here goes with some healthy tips for all of us seniors without stepping foot in a gym or going out and buying the latest exercise equipment.  This is just a small part of the roadmap to kindness with ourselves.

DRINK MORE WATER.  I’m not talking about the old adage of 8 glasses a day, I’m talking about the fact that when you wake up in the morning, have a glass of water.  You lose a lot of hydration while you sleep, so fix that first thing in the morning.  Keep up your water intake throughout the day.  You’ll notice physical advantages like healthier skin, you’ll be more mentally alert, you will have clearer vision, and you will also improve the function of every cell in your body, so keep those little beauties hydrated.  

STRETCH REGULARLY.  My BoomerGuy and I have taken up Tai Chi, which is an excellent way to keep limber.  You can do it in the comfort of your own home, or even in a class if you’re so inclined.  The stretching aspect breaks up the collagen and helps to keep your muscles toned and more flexible.  This simple activity is also an excellent way to add more mindfulness to your day.  A 10 to 15-minute stretch is a way to get in touch with your thoughts and inner self.  Take deep breaths in and out to help reduce stress levels which is another great way toward better self-care.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS.  This is just an extension on the above.  I’m not talking about meditation. I’m talking about being in a quiet place and focusing on your breathing and getting in touch with your mind and body.  You will find this is a practical way to communicate with your body, and eventually you’ll be able to identify early physical and mental warning signs easier and react accordingly.  It’s also excellent for stress relief, relaxation and getting in tune with your thoughts.  Forget about meditation and find what works for you.

SPEND LESS TIME ON YOUR PHONE AND COMPUTER BEFORE YOU GO TO BED, AND YOU MIGHT WANT TO TURN OFF YOUR TV EARLIER.  Simply put, you need to give your brain time to relax before you go to sleep.  Reducing the external stimulation of the 24-hour news; local, national and international crises; email and texting; social media interaction will not only do wonders for your self-esteem and mental health, it will also help you get a better night’s sleep.  Aim for at least half an hour of no TV or technology time as a way to implement your digital detox right before you go to bed.  Instead of technology transformation, call it kindness transformation.

READ.  As a complement to your digital detox, you should pick up a good book and read during the day and before you go to bed.  Find a genre you love, whether it be personal development, fiction, or empowering books by female authors.  It’s a great way to create some “me-time” and provide education and entertainment.  No matter what the outcome, it’s relaxing and allows you to take time out of your day or evening for yourself—the kindness theme just keeps getting stronger.

PRACTICE GRATITUDE AND KINDNESS.  Ever look around and see seniors with a scowl on their face.  Not only does it make them look old, but it makes them look angry, resentful, and not too social.  Because of the many health issues I live with every day, I could easily be one of those people who scowls.  But that is definitely not me.  I get up and talk to myself by listing three things for which I’m grateful.  They can be as significant or as small as you like, and they can be the same each day or different.  Reminding yourself of the things you are thankful for will help you stay in a positive mindset, as it helps you live in a place of abundance and kindness.  Please, no more scowls.

STOP BEING SO STRICT ON YOURSELF.  I’m talking about practicing being kind to yourself, but don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the diet for one meal, fail to find your exercise bands one day, or forget to treat yourself to speaking with the grandkids or a good friend.  Do the things that make you feel good, and don’t punish yourself for missing a small part of your routine.

DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE.  This is called self-fulfillment, but also being kind to yourself, which is the fundamental theme for this week.  This one is non-negotiable, if you don’t have time, you must make time. If you’re not spending time each day doing something you love, you won’t feel fulfilled.  If you don’t feel fulfilled, you won’t be in a good place to love and support the people around you as best you can.  As the saying goes, fill up your own cup so that it can overflow to the people around you.  This really is the self-kindness mantra. 

TRY NEW THINGS, OR REVISIT OLD THINGS.  As often as you can, try something new:  a cruise, a trip to the museum, a walk through a flea market (you don’t necessarily have to buy anything), a shopping trip with friends, visiting your local theater or take a trip to Vegas to see Paul Anka, spending a couple of hours at Barnes and Noble, etc.  Whatever they might be, I can assure you it will make you a happier and more fulfilled person.  Oh, did I mention revisiting old things.  How about a favorite antique store, renting a movie that takes you back to another time in your life, watching a sunset with your significant other or a good friend, walk down memory lane by picking up the photo journal and laughing out loud at our old style clothes and hairdo’s, sitting down at one of your favorite restaurants, etc.

Any one or all of these will lead to a kindness quotient that will most certainly make your days more enjoyable and livable.  Here at BoomerGal, we are all about kindness and inspiration leading to a healthier lifestyle.  

“The trick is in what one emphasizes—we either make ourselves miserable, 

or we make ourselves strong—the amount of work and effort is the same.”  

Which do you choose?

Editorial contribution by Natalie Parry, A Girl In Progress, 2019

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