One of the more common reasons people have a hard time adopting healthy habits is that they become overwhelmed and discouraged thinking about the huge changes they’ll need to make to achieve their goals. However, it is important to know that taking even a few small steps towards improving your health and overall well-being can make a big difference.
According to research, our brains resist repeating difficult, complex or painful events. In other words, the “No pain, no gain” approach isn’t usually all that effective.
Rather than pushing yourself to change unhealthy behaviors all at once, try the following suggestions:
- Don’t jump headfirst into a big transition.
- Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses when setting goals.
- Ease into changes and take baby steps toward your goals.
- New behaviors take three weeks to become habits. Be patient with yourself.
- Celebrate when you do succeed.
Promoting Good Health in Older Adults
When it comes to reaching your wellness goals, why not start with simple steps you can take today? Consider these 10 easy ways to improve your health:
- Keep fresh fruit and vegetables within reach
Trying to break your snacking habit?
Instead of vowing never to eat between meals, fill a bowl with apples, pears, bananas, grapes, cherry tomatoes or any nutritious food. Wash produce and keep it handy on the counter or in the refrigerator. This encourages and makes it easier for you to substitute nutritious foods for those unhealthy munchies.
- Bring the outdoors in
Could your mood use a boost?
Surrounding yourself with nature can improve your mental and emotional outlook. It’s also good for your physical health. NASA research has found that houseplants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours! They can also improve your concentration and productivity by increasing oxygen levels. In addition, caring for living things like plants provides purpose and may decrease loneliness and depression.
- Partner up
Are you having trouble sticking to a healthier routine?
It’s not always easy to continue to motivate yourself to exercise or adopt healthier habits. But involving a friend in your attempts can do wonders when it’s time to get in shape and eat right. We tend to find it far more difficult to abandon our intentions of healthier living if we include friends and family in our plans, like attending a fitness class or committing to better food choices. It can also be a lot more fun to have a partner.
- Start and end your day with time for yourself
Do you feel overwhelmed or pulled in multiple directions?
Start your day with 15 minutes of meditation in a quiet corner of the house when you’re less likely to encounter distractions or disturbances. In the evening, reverse the process. Spend a few moments thinking back on the day’s events, writing in a journal or acknowledging your gratitude.
- Spend more time outdoors
Do you hear the call of nature?
Take advantage of every chance you get to be outside. If you live where there is open space and walking trails, you’ll find countless opportunities for getting great exercise while relaxing and centering your brain. Walking around your neighborhood also provides physical movement and allows you the chance to meet others or stop and chat.
- Connect with others
Would you like to increase your social circle?
Relationships bring significant benefits to both our physical and mental health. As we age, loneliness or social isolation tends to increase in comparison with our younger years. You may have lost track of friends or people you enjoyed spending time with. Make the effort to reconnect by taking the initiative and making a phone call, sending an email or making a “friend request” through social media.
- Eat better foods
Do you want to eat healthier?
The foods we eat can make us physically stronger and support our brain and moods. However, if you’re eating a lot of processed foods and refined sugars, they can also do more damage than good. Take a few minutes to consider the type of foods you generally eat and how you could improve. Don’t swear off sweets and snacks forever, but make small substitutions for a better chance of success.
- Plant a garden
Do you love the idea of fresh ingredients?
If you can have a garden, you can enjoy healthy food that goes straight to your table. Studies show there are also significant psychological benefits of digging in the soil, planting seeds and watching your creations grow. If you don’t have room outside, consider planting a herb garden in your kitchen window.
- Turn off electronics before going to bed
Would you like more restful sleep?
We live in an electronic world, but did you know that lights and too much screen time before bed can actually interfere with our ability to relax and get a good night’s sleep? Try turning everything off before you’re ready to climb into bed, or keep all electronics out of your bedroom. Reading a book or meditating can be great sleep enhancers.
- Learn to let it go
Do you need to lower your anxiety?
Everyone has stress in their lives, but there are steps you can take to minimize or relieve the symptoms. One of the biggest detriments to your health is hanging on to everything that bothers you. Learning to let some things go can be a great way for older adults to promote and support their good health.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.