7 Small Steps to a Happier, Healthier Life After 60
Do you feel like you need a life-lift? Do you think that if a few things in your life would change you’d face each day with more hope and joy?
It does seem that after 60 some changes happen fast – like aches and sagging skin and the development of cataracts – and others are excruciatingly slow – like weight loss, improved muscle tone and remembering new information.
The negative changes that occur naturally can seem to be overwhelming. It is possible, though, to keep improving as we age… or at least to slow down the inevitable slowing down. We just have to have reasonable expectations and develop some intentional ways to be proactive.
It is discouraging to try to change a lot at once, so choosing one area of your life to improve and one small step to take is a good start. Life change is easier one small step at a time.
See if one of these life-lifting small steps is something you might try to make your life better.
Once those creaky bones get to aching, it is tempting to move less. But moving will, in most cases, be the best thing for you. For example, a walk around the block after dinner can be an easy step to take.
Our Medicare supplemental carrier offers Silver Sneakers as a perk. We now have free memberships at gyms in town where we can walk, push weights or use cardio machines any time of day.
There are group classes as well: yoga, chair aerobics, and even a Silver Sneaker class. A little bit of moving can bring a lot of progress.
Control Your Weight
Want to lose 10 pounds? Don’t focus on the number, focus on eating smaller portions of healthier foods; maybe skip the second helping.
Choose baked instead of fried. Don’t have chips as an 8:00 p.m. snack. Keep sugary soda out of your home. As metabolism slows down and activity decreases, we need fewer carb calories.
Want to not gain 10 pounds? The same suggestions will most likely work. Just one small decision daily can make a difference.
Contribute to Others
Staying at home, inside and alone, can become a dark and lonely place. Doing something to help someone else can have a huge improvement in your outlook and attitude.
Monthly food pantry, daily soup kitchen, weekly reading help, occasional baby rocking, park clean-up, sewing heart-shaped pillows for the hospital… regularly doing something for someone else can perk you up as you contribute to others.
Maybe simply picking up the phone to call someone is a big pick-up for them. This doesn’t have to be something you do daily. Making an initial decision to find a place to reach out to others is a small step you can take forward today.
Define What You Want
I will soon lead a vision board workshop for women in their 50s to help them plan their ThirdThird (ages 60-90). They are beginning to fret about what it means to go from careers to whatever comes next. I am going to lead them through a day of deciding for themselves.
Drifting usually gets us somewhere, but not necessarily where we would have chosen to be. Pulling out the oars and propelling the boat is a more rewarding approach.
Define how you want to feel, what you want to do, where you want to go. It will give you focus and direction so that you can know that you are satisfied with your life.
Fill Your Cup Up
Whether you are wired to see the glass as half-empty or half-full, it needs more substance in it if it is to be full.
What will fill your glass, your life? Quiet time in the morning with a cup of coffee of tea to start your day? A good book to read before retiring at night? A garden to tend? Weekly face time with distant grandkids? Think about the things that will fill you up.
Choosing to find the good in every situation is a huge life-lift. Being grateful fills your glass and costs nothing. I find that making a list of things I am grateful for – helps, because there are days when I’m tempted to forget how blessed my life is.
Taking the small step of choosing to find something to be grateful for can be a life-lift.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water is essential. So is eating more fiber.
Water and fiber can make us feel better by keeping everything moving as it should. Feeling sludgy makes it hard to be positive, to be active, to want to contribute to others. Maybe some good probiotics will help, too. Daily attention to water and fiber can have positive outcomes.
Don’t expect yourself to feel or function like you did when you were 20 – or 30 or 40, or even 50 – if you are over 60.
Adjust to your new reality, and enjoy the journey that you are on by having realistic expectations of yourself. Take stock and be conscious of the adjustments you need to make in mind and body.
To be realistic, do not expect others to read your mind. If you need a visit from someone, ask them to stop by. If you know you should not drive after dark but want to attend an event, ask for a ride or learn to use Uber.
If you want a family dinner but are not able to host, ask someone else to. You can show up with energy and attitude to help with smiles and stories.
Make every day better by choosing one small step in the direction you want to take. Then, celebrate small victories and enjoy a more positive outlook.
How are you staying healthy now that you are in your 60s or better? What helps you to be positive yet realistic about growing past 60? Please join the conversation below.