Make This a Year of Wellness and Balance

residents embracing a year of wellness and balance

Suggestions To Help You Prepare for the Future While Getting the Most Out of Today

Now that the winter holidays are over and you’ve had a chance to rest up from traveling or family visits, you may be turning your sights to the year ahead.

Do you have specific goals you want to accomplish? Changes or improvements you’d like to make? Plans for personal growth? Are you ready to more fully explore senior living options?

When you’re retired, you may have more slack in your schedule, and it can be tempting to put non-immediate items on your to-do list off until “later.” Before you realize it, months have gone by and your list hasn’t become any shorter. If anything, it may have grown.

While it’s still early in the year, why not take a look at your list (or make one), prioritize what’s on it and then make a pact with yourself to consciously whittle away at it.

If you know you’ll need some help sticking with it, enlist a friend to hold you accountable. Maybe your friend would also like to make a list and you can motivate each other.

Put Wellness at the Top of Your List

There’s an anonymous quotation that goes, “Your health is an investment, not an expense.” We’d change that slightly and say instead, “Your wellness is an investment.” It’s an investment in your future that can also provide rewards right now.

At Heron’s Key, we take a holistic approach to wellness that goes far beyond physical health. Well-being encompasses social, emotional, spiritual and intellectual aspects, among others, and we address all of those facets in the active senior lifestyle we offer.

Take a look at our activities calendar and you’ll see what we mean. Here are some examples:

Physical Wellness Classes and Activities:
  • Fit & fun cardio
  • Gentle and yin yoga
  • Ladies’ strength training
  • Interval training
  • Neighborhood walks
  • Seated core strengthening
  • Stretch & balance
  • Tai chi
  • Total body circuit training
Social Wellness Activities:
  • Resident-led group meetings (such as the Heron’s Key Sketchers, fiber arts and photography groups, Key Quilters, book club and dozens of other groups)
  • Coffee get-togethers Monday-Saturday mornings
  • Sunday brunch
  • Movie night on Fridays
  • Happy hour on Saturdays
  • Bridge, pinochle and mah-jongg
  • Outings to museums, restaurants, performances and events
Spiritual and Emotional Wellness Activities:
  • Bible study classes
  • Meditation sessions
  • Spiritual wellness focus group meetings
  • Support group meetings
Intellectual Wellness Activities
  • Lifelong learning classes (by guest lecturers and classes via our in-house TV station)
  • Many of the resident-led groups focus on interests and skills that stimulate the mind
  • Presentations by guest speakers from the Gig Harbor community and beyond

Creating Your Own Personal Wellness Plan

There’s no right or wrong approach to making a wellness plan, though it’s a good idea to include at least a few of the different facets of wellness mentioned above. And you don’t need to tackle everything right at the start. Taking a more balanced approach is more likely to lead you to success.

You could:

  • Work with a personal trainer, a life coach (some specialize in working with older adults), a dietitian/nutritionist or a spiritual adviser
  • See what classes are available at a nearby community college
  • Check out activities at your local senior center
  • Do an online search to see what types of special interest groups are in your area
  • Start a club of your own with others who share a specific interest

One way to begin is to think about activities, hobbies and pastimes you enjoyed when you were younger, perhaps before you started a career or family. Was there something you enjoyed or were especially passionate about that you gave up because life got too busy or complicated?

If you want to create a written plan with specific goals and timelines, go for it. It’s not mandatory, though.

You could start with a simple idea and make it something fun, like picking a night each week to try a new food if you want to work toward a healthier diet (or just expand your palate). It’s easy to go online and find nutritional information, recipes, cookbooks, restaurants that feature healthy cuisine and other useful resources. Or visit a nearby farmers market where you can browse and talk with the vendors.

You can carry that same concept of trying something new on a regular basis into other wellness categories. For instance, plan a new cultural experience for yourself once a month and check out different museums, exhibitions, performances and restaurants. If something piques your interest, boost your brainpower by reading up on it!

Sparking Ideas for Social Wellness

You never know where you might find inspiration for new opportunities to socialize. One of the most popular resident groups at Heron’s Key is the Reuben Group, which began last year with two couples who had gone to lunch and ordered Reuben sandwiches. Other residents overheard them talking about how good the sandwiches were when they came back home, and the group was formed within a few days.

Now, the group has 75 members. Each month, some of them go to different restaurants in and around Gig Harbor to compare Reubens. And, at least two other foodie groups have formed as offshoots of the Reuben Group.

Seeking Out New Settings for Spiritual Wellness

Different people define spirituality in different ways, so we offer a variety of activities for residents to try. Early last fall, our newest fitness specialist, Katie Lodge, introduced residents to the concepts of forest bathing and sound bathing.

The initial sessions for both activities were well-attended, and although we’re taking a hiatus from forest bathing over the winter, the sound bathing sessions continue to be a popular activity in our community.

During the sessions, Katie plays a bowl that produces sound through vibrations. Residents sit or lie down, using blankets and bolsters to make themselves comfortable. Focusing on the sound as it resonates throughout the room helps them let go of stress and achieve a sense of calmness.

If there are no opportunities to try sound bathing near you, consider trying something more mainstream, such as yoga or tai chi — both of which can be done indoors or outside if the weather permits. These and other Eastern practices and philosophies foster connections between the mind, body and spirit.

Destressing by Decluttering

Environmental wellness is another aspect of holistic wellness, and that doesn’t just refer to the quality of the air and water in a person’s surroundings.

Living in a cluttered home can negatively affect your health — physically, mentally, emotionally and even socially. Research suggests being around clutter can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to or exacerbate depression and anxiety.

Decluttering is part of the rightsizing and downsizing processes (you can learn more about the differences between the two in this blog post). Rightsizing can be beneficial at many life stages, including retirement.

If you’re thinking about moving to a senior living community within the next few years, it’s not too soon to start rightsizing. If you have a specific community in mind, you might want to consider getting on a waitlist. (For more information about waitlists and how being on one gives you more control over your future, check out our blog post from last month.)

Exemplary Independent Living in Gig Harbor

The well-being of residents is always a priority at Heron’s Key. We make it easy and a whole lot of fun to focus on staying active and being well.

Come for a visit and you’ll see how invested Heron’s Key residents are in their future — and how much they’re enjoying the present. Spend a little time with us and get a feel for how well you’d fit into our community.

To set up a visit, call (877) 892-7129 or contact us online.