As you get older, it becomes increasingly vital to look after yourself. But you can’t just focus on your physical health—it’s equally important to fortify your emotional and mental well-being.

Self-care refers to an activity (or lifestyle adjustment) that positively affects your mental, emotional, or physical health. The concept has become popular in recent years, especially as society evolves deeper into the digital realm.

In this post, we examine why self-care is so crucial for elderly Australians and provide five handy tips to get the wellness ball rolling.

How Important is Self-Care As You Age?

Self-care is more important than ever once you reach your golden years.

While a youngster has ample opportunity to exercise, socialise, and pursue their passions, these core self-care components may be lacking from an older person’s everyday life. Mobility issues, diminished energy levels, and extended periods of isolation can wreak havoc on your overall well-being.

Adopt these five self-care activities to bolster your quality of life.

5 Important Self-Care Activities For Seniors

1. Spending Time in Nature

Scientific studies have shown spending time outside is good for mental and physical health. Breathing in fresh air can counteract anxiety and reduce cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

Time spent outside also enhances your cognitive function, including mental clarity, concentration, and creativity. What’s more, soaking up some rays helps combat Vitamin D deficiency, a common ailment and risk factor for osteoporosis, heart attack, and stroke.

For optimal results, spend your daily outdoor time in an attractive natural setting—a garden or nearby park is ideal.

2. Catching Up With a Friend or Loved One

A 2018 study found 13% of adults experience loneliness (that figure grows with age). Furthermore, 8% of respondents over 65 reported being socially isolated, which can dramatically impact mental well-being.

Humans are inherently social animals, and our desire to mingle doesn’t wane with age. However, as we get older, our opportunities to engage in face-to-face interaction decline. For this reason, it’s crucial to get proactive about your social life in old age.

Schedule regular catch-ups with family and old friends—preferably in-person, but over the phone if need be—and join special interest clubs. A weekly game of bingo or bridge will work wonders at enhancing your mental well-being.

3. Start Something New

As the adage goes, “it’s never too late to start something new.” While you mightn’t be as sprightly as your younger years, you’re never too old to pick up a new hobby or begin a business venture. And who knows? Your newfound passion could turn into the next big thing—Colonel Sanders started KFC at the ripe old age of 65.

Think about all the things you wanted to do while younger but never found the time. Make a shortlist of the top contenders and get started today. If possible, enrol in a weekly class or join a group, like a book club or photography course. That way, you get to make new friends in the process—a win-win.

4. Mobility and Exercise

Although it requires a bit of self-motivation, exercise is the most effective way to enhance your physical and mental well-being. Even a brief workout will prompt your brain to begin pumping out endorphins, your in-built feel-good neurotransmitters. As CareAbout’s partner, Dr. Karen Wolfe, says, “if exercise were a drug, everyone would take it.”

Of course, it’s crucial to adopt a realistic exercise plan, so don’t overdo it. If you’re having trouble formulating a sensible regime, consult your GP first. And remember, it’s easier to stick with something you enjoy—think about what sports or physical activities make you smile.

5. Be Present

Being present is the cornerstone of mindfulness. The term refers to focusing on the present and avoiding distractions or absent-mindedness. Remember the expression, “Stop and smell the roses?” Being present is all about relishing the here and now.

One good way to be present is through meditation. The Headspace App is a good place to start, although there are plenty of other programs out there.

Better yet, older people may find a “Gratitude Journal” particularly therapeutic. Rather than focusing on age-related health issues, keeping a written record of the things you’re grateful for in life can offer a slew of positive benefits. Harvard Health says gratitude can help you deal with adversity, build strong relationships, reduce stress, and experience positive emotions.

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