It seems we’re reminded daily about the importance of a self-care plan as you age—especially during these pandemic times. In fact, the news anchor of a major television network helps keep the subject top-of-mind as he signs off his broadcast each evening with, “Take care of yourselves . . . and each other.”
As you age, taking care of yourself becomes even more important. After a lifetime of being focused on the health and well-being of your children and family, it’s perfectly fine to be a little self-centered in your senior years—in fact, you deserve it. But you need to have a complete understanding of what self-care entails, and, as with any other course of action, you need a plan.
What is Self-Care?
Professionals in the business of senior living concur that self-care involves any planned activity done in the interest of promoting one’s own health and well-being. Self-care can encompass many different areas. At Heron’s Key, seven basic aspects of whole-body wellness form the foundation of an active approach to everyday living and self-care.
These seven aspects make up the community’s holistic wellness program. Residents plan for, engage in, and benefit from activities that:
- Promote meaningful relationships and connections (Social).
- Help formulate a productive awareness of feelings (Emotional).
- Explore and discover truth (Spiritual).
- Contribute to the world around us (Environmental).
- Develop skills and talents for enrichment (Vocational).
- Support good bodily function (Physical).
- Interact with the world using mental talents (Intellectual).
Self-Care as You Age
Each month, Heron’s Key chooses a theme to celebrate and promote, thereby raising awareness of that particular topic. For the month of November, that theme is Self-Care as You Age. The November issue of Heron’s Flight provides practical tips on self-care, volunteering opportunities planned for the upcoming holiday season, and upcoming community programs. These include mindful meditation, expressing gratitude, and staying in touch with physical health and mental wellness.
As you can see, all activities are created around one or more of the community’s seven aspects of whole-body wellness. Read about them in Heron’s Flight. They just may help you formulate ideas for your own self-care plan.
Self-Care Needs a Plan
Now, let’s talk about your own personal self-care plan. You probably have a good idea already of what you want to do. WORD OF CAUTION: Start out with a very fundamental plan that you can measure, re-evaluate and expand upon as time goes on. Remember, you want your self-care plan to be successful, not overwhelming and stressful.
Here are some objectives that may sound elementary, but put them in your plan to make you even more conscious of your goals for successful aging:
Isn’t this always the case? It just proves what an important role a nutritious, healthy diet plays in your overall well-being. Eating healthfully not only includes the foods you eat but portion sizes, beverages and fluids—especially water and any vitamin and mineral supplements you may need. Make your nutrition plan a little detailed. Examples might be: focus on proteins and vegetables, eight glasses of water per day, avoid cheese and crackers before bed. You know the details you want to include.
Regular exercise is good for your mind, mood, and memory. It can boost your energy, maintain your independence, protect your heart, and manage symptoms of illness or pain as well as maintain your weight. It’s never too late to find a simple, enjoyable way to become more active. THIS IS KEY: Make it something you enjoy doing.
Relax and Revitalize
Naps during the day are OK. A little afternoon snooze revitalizes you, especially if you’ve embraced an active lifestyle like the one you’ll find at Heron’s Key. Here, maintenance-free Life Plan Community living leaves residents free to focus on the beautiful surroundings and active lifestyle of Gig Harbor and the surrounding peninsulas. Schedule time every day to unwind. Go on a nature walk. Meditate. Get a massage. Take a yoga class, or just plain relax. And when your head hits the pillow at night, make sure it’s for 7-8 hours.
The Doctor Is IN
Keep up with your regular medical appointments. But be cautious about getting on a “medical merry-go-round.” Sometimes, even your doctor will agree that “waiting and seeing” will do no harm. And don’t forget about your regular dental, podiatry, and eyecare checkups.
Loved Ones and Friends
Socialization has been proven to increase happiness, leading to better health and a longer life. Spending time with positive, loving people you care about and trust can ease stress, help your mood, and improve the way you feel overall. A WORD ABOUT FAMILY: Don’t feel pressured to attend every junior high school athletic event your grandson participates in!
These five objectives should give you a good start. Remember, every self-care plan needs a regular evaluation as it progresses. Mental Health America suggests that keeping track of your self-care goals in a journal or scrapbook with photos, notes to yourself, and reflections will help you keep track of what you’ve accomplished and the objectives you still plan to conquer.
REMEMBER: You can add new goals to your self-care plan as they come up. Keeping an honest personal journal is a great way to learn about yourself. Also, it promotes your own well-being as you grow older.
Take Care of Yourself at Heron’s Key
At Heron’s Key, our mission is to provide the highest level of services and amenities to people ages 55 and older interested in independent senior living while providing a continuum of services to support vibrant, active and engaged lifestyles.
To be fully prepared for your future, learn more about the Life Plan lifestyle of Heron’s Key by calling (877) 892-7129 or contacting us online.