Self-care is an important factor in improving one’s mental and physical well-being. But sometimes, when people think about “self-care,” they focus only on the now and forget to think about the long term. For example, some individuals use self-care to justify buying something, such as a new gadget.
But self-care needs to be a long-term commitment, rather than a temporary relief from stress. You need to adopt practical self-care practices to not only enjoy the life that you have now but also to stay youthful, even at retirement age. Here are some amazing self-care tips you can use to stay spry and healthy now and in the future:
Sure, eating healthy is common sense. But it doesn’t hurt to get a reminder. Besides, it’s one of the things you might be unable to prioritize if you’re too busy or have other things to take care of.
The adage “you are what you eat” is a tried and tested statement. If you want to stay healthy, you need to be mindful of what you put in your body. Start by always having a balanced meal. Choose high-fiber carbohydrates when you can. For example, instead of eating white bread, go for the whole wheat variant instead. And don’t forget to eat more fish, fruits, and vegetables. As much as possible, avoid sugary foods and foods with saturated fat as these are mostly linked with obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Also, mind your portions to avoid overeating.
Exercise is important at any age. When you retire, whether you decide to stay at home or transfer to an independent living facility, you’ll need to include physical exercise in your daily routine. The most important physical activities to include are aerobic exercises. They can simply be walking, jogging, running, riding a bicycle, or dancing.
Regular exercise will help you maintain your mobility as you age. A U.S. study found that among the elderly (70 to 89 years of age), the most physically active group were 77% less likely to develop a mobility disability than those who were less active. Thus, while you’re young, make it a habit of exercising regularly. Even a 30-minute run every day can help your body a lot, compared to not doing anything at all.
Apart from aerobic exercises, you can also add gardening to your self-care routine. Pulling weeds and planting flowers can help you burn up 200 to 400 calories per hour. Meanwhile, mowing the lawn can help you burn 250 to 350 calories per hour. Based on these numbers, gardening can aid in weight management. Though weight loss isn’t affected by age, it’s best to manage your weight to reduce health risks when you get older. Gardening can also reduce your risk of morbidity and mortality.
Not only does gardening have physical benefits. It has mental health benefits as well. As we age, we will experience changes in our mood and stress levels. These can happen due to hormonal changes or as a result of joint pains that come with age. A 2015 study found that walking for 90 minutes in a natural setting reduces stress and improves mood. So even if you actually do gardening or stay in the garden, you’ll feel much better.
Aside from physical exercise, you also need to take care of your mind. The simplest self-care you can do is to read books regularly. Reading is a great habit for people of all ages. Reading keeps your brain engaged and stimulated. And this can reduce your risk of brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Reading can also help you live longer. In one study with over 3,635 participants of ages 50 and older, researchers found that regular book readers decreased their mortality risk by 20%.
With these benefits, you’ll definitely get the motivation to develop a reading habit starting now! And there are no restrictions on reading materials. You can read novels, textbooks, poems, and other reading materials that you enjoy.
Practicing meditation can also do wonders. While you’re young, meditation can help you find have more control of your focus and attention. This can help boost your productivity, whether at work or school.
Meanwhile, when you grow older and reach retirement age, meditation will help you improve your mood. It can also improve your cognitive abilities. Adding meditation to other self-care rituals like regular exercise and mindful eating helps in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Self-care doesn’t need to be about spending something or going out to pamper yourself. It can be as simple as living a healthy life. Your health is your investment. And if you start taking care of yourself now, the you in the future will surely thank the current you.