The five pillars of healthy aging are move the body, employ healthy sleep habits, keep a balanced diet, have regular social connection, and partake in creative endeavours. Sounds simple enough, but one or more tend to fall off the life teeter-totter when you throw other responsibilities, worries, and health concerns into the mix and before you know it; you’re way off balance. Time starts to fly by even faster. And soon, your retirement years are even a distant memory.
So how does one live that life to the fullest, exactly?
Yes, it begins with those healthful living building blocks we mentioned above, and extends to everything from how you dress to how you arrange your space. The cumulative effect: a balancing of mind, body and soul. But most importantly: the understanding that not every piece is going to be in play all of the time. Accepting that we’re going for balanced weeks, even months, instead of “the perfect day”, is the first step. They call it a yoga “practice” for a reason. We “practice” gratitude for a reason, too.
Gratitude, above all, is the most meaningful activity you can do for yourself. Start to practice as often as you can, whenever you remember. Something happened that didn’t work out? That’s okay, thank the situation for teaching you a lesson, and move on. Soon, things will begin to look more half-full than the other way around. We explore the power of gratitude more in this post by Karen Tyrell, Dementia Consultant, Educator, and Author.
Another solid practice to employ is journaling. A known stress reliever, journaling has proven to lower blood pressure and improve immunity. On a mind-body-soul scale, it also helps one gain perspective—a valuable skill while navigating changes as we grow, age, and our needs change. Journaling through the process will help one to live each day to the fullest by showing us what is happening, what is possible, and what we still dare to dream for ourselves.
Now that we’ve covered what we can do for the mind, let’s turn to the body and soul.
Seen your best friend lately? Picked up the phone to call your child or grandchildren, rather than waiting to hear from them? Maintaining a certain degree of social connection is as important as regular exercise. It inspires positive mental health, boosts the immune system, and lowers blood pressure. That rush of endorphins doesn’t just make you happy: it energizes you to achieve all the things you still have time to do in your golden years. Time, energy, and motivation. Gifts that we can give ourselves.
Last but certainly not least, is the ingredient to a full life that has been ingrained since childhood: regular physical exercise. There’s a reason it’s always on every list for wellness, the top of every doctor’s To Do for their patients, and a gazillion dollar industry. The benefits of exercise are immeasurable, as they encourage your best self, while yielding very calculable health benefits. One of our favourites for seniors: a regular yoga practice for boosting physical and mental health.
Beyond these essentials, do what calls to you! Read, play an instrument, learn to paint – it’s all within your grasp. At Verve Senior Living, we offer specialized Life Enrichment programming to help you realize your potential on a daily basis, empowering you with choice and freedom to pursue those passions. Life is meant to be lived, enjoy it still!