As the Holidays blur past us and we huddle inside for warmth and cozy comfort with our families and friends, our thoughts turn from the fond memories of the past year to the hopeful future ahead of us in the next. “New Year’s Resolutions” are a common and popular commitment or lifestyle change that many people commit to at the New Year, to make our lives happier, healthier, and most fulfilling. For Elders especially, having things to look forward to in the next year, whether something as complex as that long-awaited overseas vacation or something as simple as “eating more vegetables.” New Year’s Resolutions can help us have happier and more fulfilling lives, even as we get older. Below are a few ideas for New Year’s Resolutions that Elders and their families and friends can enjoy and work towards together.
Sunlight is one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Rays from the sun that hit our skin promote the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D, an important vitamin that can increase good moods, stabilize our emotions, and promote healthy bone and body health. Getting outside or in the sun for as little as 10 minutes a day can make a difference for everyone, and Elders especially.
A more varied diet
Everyone has heard the classic “I want to lose 10 pounds” resolutions for New Years. Going into a gym in the first week of January is evidence enough to show our culture’s obsession with staying fit and trim. Staying in great shape is important to our health of course, but smaller steps are helpful too. Adding new foods and varied meals to your diet is not only fun and interesting, but it can also help avoid things like vitamin deficiencies. Maybe try out that new Mediterranean restaurant you’ve seen but never visited?
A new hobby
Being bored is a part of life that everyone experiences, but for retirees and elder persons, who may be unable to do the same physical activities they’ve done before, boredom can be become a real weight around the neck. One of the best ways to avoid boredom is to have a fun and fulfilling hobby. It doesn’t have to be something as intense or demanding as rock-climbing or wakeboarding. Picking up a new board (or video!) game can stimulate our minds and our competitive spirit. Starting a complex puzzle, or painting, are also great examples. Whatever it is, a new hobby can help energize elders and their families and friends for the year ahead.
Spending more time with friends and family
It may seem like the holidays are too much social interaction sometimes, with cousins from all over the world, and a complex variety of events and plans and meals to prep. It’s understandable to take some time off to recharge and reset. But over the course of the year, staying in touch with friends and family can really make a difference in our overall happiness and satisfaction with our lives. Going out to social events, like a card game, or a show or a play, or even just dinner with friends, can be a wonderful way to stimulate our social needs and stay happy and healthy. Now’s the time to make a change, so if you or an elder loved one has felt lonely in the past year, try making some plans!
A long-awaited project
Many of us have a wistful “I should do that…” thought in the back of our heads as we go through our lives. But the requirements of our lives, the stresses and the obligations can often put these projects on the back burner. For elders, with more time gained from not clocking into work and with adult children out of the house, now is the time to use the time. Pick up that project! Finish that model airplane you’ve been meaning to get to, knit that sweater that’s just a sleeve cuff so far, plant those rose bushes you’ve always thought about!
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