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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

With the New Year upon us, we often like to reflect on the previous year and what we can do to better our upcoming one. How was 2017 for you? Did you spend enough time doing the things you enjoyed? What do you hope to accomplish this year and what are you going to do to make 2018 count?

Here are five tried and true resolutions that are sure to help you achieve a higher level of happiness and health in 2018. 

1. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy and dedicate a certain amount of time to it every week. Whether it is chair aerobics, water aerobics, walking, or cycling, chances are there is some type of exercise you would enjoy. This is also a good time to recruit a friend and you can then double that time with not just exercise, but visiting time. Check out your local community centers and YMCA’s for senior-centered classes that you may be interested in.  Scientists have long said that regular exercise is key to optimum health and it strongly contributes to alleviating symptoms of depression and the winter blues – why not give it a try!

2. Get out there and have some fun! What is it that you truly enjoy doing? Do you love Bingo? Visiting with friends? Cooking? Singing? There are so many outlets to get involved in the things you enjoy – just for the fun of it! Sit down and make a list of the top 5 things that you enjoy most. Whether it is going to the theater or increasing your visiting time with family, having a list is a helpful way to identify what it is that you love most so that you can put together a plan for FUN. Make weekly goals that include your FUN LIST and make sure you get the time you need to improve your life doing the things you love most.

3. Give Back! Are you currently working as a volunteer anywhere? Is there an organization or community group that you respect or enjoy and you would like to be a part of it? Volunteering is a great way to get out there, meet others, and share a part of yourself with those who will so much appreciate you and your time.  Some of the most common groups or organizations in need of volunteers are:

  •  a. Local Hospitals (gift shops, information booths)
  • b. Crisis Nurseries (they have full-time staff to actually care for the littles, the volunteers are there strictly to hold babies and play with the children)
  • c. Local Community Centers (information booths, classes)
  • d. Local Theaters (seating attendants)e. Local Churches (food pantries, nurseries, etc…)

4. Start a new hobby or rekindle one that you used to enjoy. Have you always wanted to write poetry or literature? Complete your life’s memoir? Learn how to tap dance or throw pottery? It is never too late learn a new hobby or get back to one you love. Laura Ingalls Wilder did not publish her first book until she was 65-years-old. Cher continues her singing tours at the age of 71 and Christopher Plummer’s recent performance in All the Money in the World has been declared his best performance yet (at the age of 88). Whether it is a local pottery class or a small role in the community theater, hobbies are a way for you to find meaning in the things you enjoy. Think of three things you would like to have learned earlier in life and go out there and do it! It is never too late and you may just find a new passion for something you are quite good at.

Senior Tips and Ideas: Healthy New Year’s Resolutions Healthy New Year’s Resolutions5. Make your time count! The Golden Years are often thought of as a time of reflection. Have you said all that you want to say and to the people you want to say it to? Writing thoughtful letters are a great way to connect to people you may not have seen recently, while also being a loving and cherished gift to your son or daughter or grandchild. We often say things to those we love, but the art of letter writing is dwindling. Set some time aside once a week or once a month and write a letter to someone you love. Make a letter list of whom you will be writing to and go to the store and buy some special stationary for the occasion. Whether it is cards or letters, reflecting on the past is the best way to share your wisdom for the future.

Is there some place you have wanted to visit, but just haven’t had the gusto to plan the trip? There is never a better time than right now and there are countless resources to help make it an easier planning process. Travel Agents are as close as your quickest Google search, as well as online companies that can assist you with booking that trip you have always wanted to take. The most difficult part is often trying to decide where you would like to go. If finances are an issue then invite a friend and split the costs of cabs (or Uber) and Air B&B (or hotels that you book on Priceline). Do some research on how these companies work and see how they can work for you (and how they will save you money, allowing you to have a more enjoyable trip for less cost). Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” Plan that trip you have been wanting to take and see how much it helps in adding fulfillment to your life.

The New Year is not only a changing of the calendar, but a symbol of the possibilities of what is yet to come. Make today count by changing tomorrow!

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Jessica Lener, MSN, RN

Jessica Lener, MSN, RN

Jessica Lener is a Registered Nurse and clinical educator who specializes in mental health nursing. She has worked with psychiatric forensic patients, geriatric, adolescent, pediatric, and adult acute populations and is passionate about ending the negative stigma attached to mental health issues. She also teaches for several local Universities, hoping to better educate the future nurses of tomorrow on compassionate care when dealing with mental illnesses.In her spare time she enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and traveling. Contact Jessica at jlener@chamberlain.edu
Jessica Lener, MSN, RN

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