Working on Wellness: Best Practices for a Healthy Life
By: Camila Cal, SeniorLivingGuide.com
Wellness is a very general topic that can be difficult to understand. Not only that, but wellness is also necessary to live a healthy, fulfilling life. So, what exactly is wellness? How do we practice wellness everyday to live at our best? Dr. Karla Pena Rosa, a clinical psychologist, and Stephanie Witt, Clinical Operations Director from Huntingdon Behavioral Health joined Darleen Mahoney on the SeniorLivingGuide.com Podcast, episode: Discover Wellness and Bring it to Your Life Today; to answer these questions and more.
An important thing to remember is that everyone has different definitions of wellness and each of us have distinct aspects of our lives that we need to work on to improve our overall wellness. Dr. Pena Rosa explained that if any of the advice resonates, write it down! If some information doesn’t apply to you – don’t worry. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to wellness.
The definition of wellness is being healthy in many dimensions of our lives. There are eight wellness dimensions: physical, intellectual, environmental, social, emotional, occupational, financial, and spiritual. These dimensions are interconnected, each one building on the other. The best way to take action in every dimension is to establish healthy habits, choosing strategies that work for your already established routines and habits. This method is called habit stacking and will make changes in your wellness consistent and easy!
- Physical wellness:
- Create a routine that balances activity with inactivity. Look for moments in your daily life where you can increase activity/motion. Can you walk around your home during commercial breaks on T.V.? Can you park a little further from the store for a longer walk?
- Exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be intense, just continual. You can break your workouts down into episodes of 5-7 minutes. Dr. Pena-Rosa said 16 minutes is all you need.
- Balance your nutrition with veggies, fruit, and other healthy foods! Are you able to eat at home more so that you can monitor what you are putting into your body?
- Maintain sleep hygiene. Stick to a sleep schedule of at least 7-8 hours on average. Avoid vigorous exercise before bed. Power your phone or electronics off to avoid screentime at least 30 minutes before sleeping. Limit long naps, avoid going over a 90-minute sleep cycle. Create a restful, peaceful environment for sleeping.
- Keep a list of current medications and track their expiration dates. Use durable medical equipment to ensure your body is receiving the best care possible.
- Intellectual wellness:
- Keep your brain sharp by challenging it. Play instruments, learn a new language, try new recipes, work on puzzles such as Wordle or Sudoku, watch game shows like Jeopardy. Think of these activities as workouts for your brain!
- Explore new interests or expand your knowledge of your preferred interests.
- Socialization is not only good for your brain, but also a preventative measure for dementia. Spend time with friends and loved ones and engage fully in those conversations!
- Environmental wellness:
- Take care of the space you live in. Make sure have access to fresh air, areas where you can connect with nature, and other places in and near your home that bring you joy.
- Are you keeping your home tidy and pleasant? Witt explained that seniors have a propensity to hoard leading to a space that is harder to clean. Taking care of any clutter and keeping a tidy home is a way to feel peaceful, practice wellness, and even avoid/prevent any accidental falls!
- Utilize caregivers and home health providers to help with the cleaning and organizing process. There are cleaning services that can help, too.
- Social wellness:
- Schedule frequent dates and activities with friends and loved ones.
- Join support groups or visit a local senior center to connect with activities for seniors in your area.
- Visit places you enjoy. If you like art, go to a museum. You might a valuable friend or connection!
- Never underestimate the value of picking up the phone and calling the people you love having conversations with.
- Emotional wellness:
- Reflect on your emotions and work through them. Don’t dwell too long on negative emotions.
- Lean into your positive emotions. Good emotions make you more likely to workout, socialize, form healthy habits which connects to the other wellness dimensions.
- Find a place where you feel the most comfortable (a library, a quiet room, a garden, etc.) and go there when you need peace and comfort.
- Occupational wellness:
- If you are still working, find ways to derive meaning and purpose from your job. Maintain healthy relationships with coworkers and colleagues. Find a balance between leisure and work.
- If you are retired, try voluteering for organizations that reflect your values. Learn skills that you can share with others.
- Financial wellness:
- Create and follow a spending plan or budget.
- Manage your debt! If your financial problems are causing stress, reach out to financial experts for help.
- Avoid scams and giving out personal information to unreliable sources.
- Spiritual wellness:
- Practice meditation, journaling, gratitude, yoga, and other activities that promote spiritual peace.
- If you are religious, get involved with your place of worship to seek more spiritual guidance and peace.
These tips will guide you on some of the things you can do to protect yourself and the ones you love. Incorporating small changes into daily routines and habits is an easy and foolproof way to practice wellness. And the best part? It’s never too late to start!
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