Starting the new year on a positive note
The New Year offers a fresh slate and don’t we all need it after what we’ve faced in 2020? But while turning the page on the calendar doesn’t magically erase the stress in our lives, we can improve our outlook which can help us to manage it more effectively. Even better, we don’t have to leave home to start the New Year on a positive note. Here’s how.
It pays to be positive
Being more positive isn’t just a nice idea, there are actual health benefits to it. Although research is still understanding the full effects of optimism on your health, according to the Mayo Clinic the benefits of it may include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Greater resistance to the common cold
- Better emotional and physical wellbeing
- Better cardiovascular health
- Better coping skills during times of stress
How to boost your mood at home
It’s really about being intentional in the environment you create, how you spend your time and what you exclude from your day-to-day such as:
Now that seniors in particular are spending more time at home, it’s important to create an environment that feels safe, restful and happy. Easy ways to do this are to incorporate more fresh flowers or plants to bring nature in, purchase an essential oil diffuser to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy or simply block out the noise of the world with a calming sound machine.
A shift in your perspective can do wonders. Try creating a list of 4-5 things you are grateful for that you can reference when you’re feeling down or stressed. Or, keep a daily journal where you jot down at least one thing you are grateful for each day. You may be surprised how many blessings you have in life once you start keeping track of them!
Along the same lines, spreading kindness and joy is contagious. It doesn’t even have to be a big gesture; perhaps simply letting a friend know you’re thinking of them, complimenting a neighbor or putting a treat in the mailbox for the mailman. Anything that can put a smile on someone else’s face (and yours too).
By that we mean music that sounds how you want to feel. Not only does music activate the part of the brain that releases dopamine which can help you feel happier and more relaxed, we’ve all experienced how a familiar song can take us back to a time and place in an instant. Pick a happy tune you can dance to and you’ve taken care of your exercise for the day as well!
Meditation can take many forms such as Tai Chi, yoga, breathing deeply, repeating a mantra and/or spending quiet time in nature. However you choose to do it, taking the time to meditate each day can help improve mood, decrease stress and improve sleep. It’s also a wonderful way to keep your mind in the present, if only for a little while.
Speaking of, while it can be harder to sleep well when you’re stressed it may be even more important. To help, follow a regular sleep schedule, minimize naps and create a bedtime routine to wind down as well as a safe, comfortable place to sleep. And leave the devices elsewhere!
Or, spending more time with the one you have. Having pets offers a multitude of benefits for seniors. The companionship alone can make you happier, but pets can also help alleviate stress by keeping you in the present – from walks to playing to cuddling with them, who has the time to feel down when your four-legged best friend is around?
Most of our tips have suggested things that can add to your life. Here, we’re recommending you take away sources that could be fueling negativity. It’s certainly important to keep informed so at least check the news daily, but aside from that unplug for a bit to see how it changes your mood and your stress level.
Senior living options in the new year
Another way to add some positivity to your life is to make time to enjoy it more. In senior living it’s easy to do just that because we remove the burdens of home maintenance, cooking and cleaning from your shoulders. With all that free time you’ll have plenty to enjoy here. Located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, our campus offers ample natural beauty plus amenities like a pool, fitness center, onsite beauty salon and library with resident business center as well as personal garden areas and fishing in two lakes. Plus, you’ll have a full calendar of social and enrichment opportunities right outside your door.
What’s more, you can rest assured that we’re carefully following the most recent local, state and federal guidelines for COVID-19. We also have everything you need under one roof so you can avoid public touchpoints entirely and with limited access to visitors and 24-hour staffing, you can have peace of mind in living here, perhaps even more so than at home.