As another new year begins, it’s time to reflect on the past and look toward the future. Unfortunately, such reflection often results in ambitious, doomed-to-fail new year’s resolutions. Goals tend to focus on breaking bad habits or taking away something unhealthy. But instead of concentrating on what you should remove, change your focus to include what you can add to your routine for better health.
If you’re a senior looking to make the most of the new year, here are 12 goals—one for each month—to improve your physical, emotional, social, and intellectual health in 2022.
Adopt body-positive self-talk.
The way you think and talk about yourself matters. By reframing your thoughts and words, you can alter your motivation for making healthy choices. This is why you should start off the new year by adopting body-positive self-talk. For instance, instead of saying, “I’m going for a walk to burn off last night’s dessert,” try, “I’m going for a walk because it makes me feel good.”
Eat more home-cooked meals.
Fast food and frozen dinners may be convenient, but you’ll improve your nutrition by using healthy, fresh ingredients in every recipe. At Parkwood Heights, we offer our residents three home-cooked meals a day in our fireside dining room. If you’re a senior with less interest in cooking for yourself, you’ll love this perk! It’s just one of the many ways we provide an enriched living experience for our residents.
Eat fresh produce with every meal.
Many new year’s resolutions advise cutting out added sugar and salt. While doing so is certainly a healthy option, you may find it easier to add foods to your diet before you focus on taking things away.
One great way to boost your vitamin intake and improve your immune system is to eat fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal. Add banana slices to your morning cereal, have a side salad with lunch, and throw tomatoes and peas into your pasta for dinner. Such small changes really add up over time.
Drink more water.
You undoubtedly know the importance of good hydration, but drinking enough water isn’t always easy. However much you drink now, try adding 16 ounces more, or the amount in a standard water bottle. One way to do this is to drink a tall glass of water first thing in the morning and again before dinner. If you normally opt for juice, soda, or sweet tea, swap at least one of these servings with plain water per day. Slow down your water consumption in the evening to avoid having to get up repeatedly during the night.
Find a type of exercise you enjoy.
Ongoing physical activity is essential for good health. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. If you’re an older adult, there’s plenty you can do. Try these ideas until you find what works best for you, always check with your doctor prior to starting any exercise routine:
- Tai chi
- Water aerobics
Work on improving your balance, strength, and flexibility.
Reduced mobility is a common problem for seniors. To reduce your risk of slipping and falling, perform daily exercises and stretches to improve your balance, strength, and flexibility. Talk to your doctor first if you are new to this kind of program, have existing balance problems, or have recently suffered a heart attack or stroke.
Incorporate stress-management techniques into your daily routine.
Everyone has things in their life that cause stress. This may result in headaches, trouble sleeping, high blood pressure, muscle tension, and other physical symptoms. That’s why de-stressing every day is a good health goal for 2022. Here are some ideas to try:
- Listen to music
- Sit outside
- Go on a walk
- Read a book
- Write in your journal
- Draw or paint
- Get a massage
- Try aromatherapy
Play brain games every day.
Physical and emotional health are important, but so is intellectual health, especially as you age. To help keep your mind sharp, set a goal to work out your brain every day with problem-solving, memory, or strategy games. You have plenty of options:
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Word searches
- Crossword puzzles
- Matching card games
Optimize your sleep routine.
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel rested. If you’re not currently meeting this goal, start going to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. Develop a bedtime routine to help you get a good night’s rest, which should include turning off all screens 30 minutes before bed and making sure your bedroom is dark, cool, and quiet.
Put your free time to good use.
Once retired, some seniors revel in all their newfound free time. Others become bored, which leads to depression. If you’re looking for good ways to spend your time, consider giving back to the community by volunteering at a homeless shelter, school, food bank, or other organization. Parkwood Heights is routinely involved in community projects, making it easy for our residents to get involved in causes that are important to them.
Call a friend or family member at least once a week.
As a senior, it’s vital to keep up your social health. One idea is to call a loved one once a week. You might schedule calls with the same person every time or surprise someone you haven’t spoken to in a while with a phone call. You’ll find a renewed sense of connectedness by keeping these relationships alive.
Socialize in person at least once a week.
While chatting on the phone is beneficial for social health, in-person interaction is also important. Moving to a senior living campus provides a chance to make friends with people in the same stage of life as you. It’s also easy for family members to visit and enjoy spending the afternoon with you.
At Parkwood Heights, we prioritize the health and happiness of our residents. It’s just one way living here can improve your quality of life. Our scenic, 122-acre senior living community is a lovely place to spend your retirement, with numerous opportunities to socialize, enjoy time with family, and get involved with activities. Please call us at (315) 986-9100 to learn more about what we have to offer, or reach out to us online if you have any questions.