It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the physical and mental health of people across the globe, with older adults having been hit particularly hard. In fact, as many as 43% of individuals 60 and up have reported feeling lonely since the start of the pandemic. To prevent adverse emotions from harming your long-term physical and mental health, take control of your happiness with these tips from Designed Retirements.
Pre-pandemic, the average person took 10,000 steps per day. Now, the average step count is less than 5,000. Walking alone can drastically improve your physical health, emotional well-being, and lifespan. According to JAMA Network, upping your step count to 7,000+ steps a day can reduce your risk of mortality by 50% to 70%.
Don’t just walk — try strength-building exercises like weight training, or take a few yoga, Zumba or HIIT classes. Swimming is a great low-impact exercise that benefits your entire body. In fact, if you currently have a Medicare Advantage plan, you are likely eligible for the Silver Sneakers program, which proves access to a variety of health and wellness facilities. Simply visit SilverSneakers.com to find out about fitness locations in your area.
Eat for Health and Happiness
When you plan your meals, do so with two goals in mind: improve your health and boost your mood. Extensive evidence reinforces what you already know — that a healthy and balanced diet can contribute to better health, higher energy levels, improved mood, and increased brain capacity. However, little research exists on the importance of eating foods you enjoy.
What studies do exist on the subject show that the gut is sensitive to emotion. If you are unhappy, so too is your gut and vice versa. While you want to focus on healthy eating, you should also eat foods that make your taste buds happy.
Take a Hobby
It is not uncommon for self-esteem levels to dip post-retirement due to a perceived lack of busyness. While you may not want to take on another full-time job, you can increase your productivity and happiness by taking up a new hobby. This can mean learning to play an instrument, painting, volunteering, or consulting. You can also consider starting a side gig. Do some research on how to get started and come up with a ‘doing business as’ name — DBA meaning it’ll be easier for you to branch out as you develop new products or services and market your offerings under a different name if your desired domain name isn’t available.
Declutter and Downsize
With each year, you may find that you value your time more than possessions. If you feel increasingly out of control in your home, free up space by getting rid of the stuff you don’t need or use. If your home feels like it’s become too much to maintain, don’t let yourself feel guilty about selling and downsizing to something more manageable.
Surround Yourself With Positive Energy
You can take steps to better yourself all day long, but if you routinely spend time with people with negative energy, all your efforts will be for naught. Build a healthy support network of friends, family, and neighbors, and avoid people who do not contribute any positivity to your life.
There is no time like the present to regain control of your health, happiness, and life. Use the above tips to get started today. For more help managing life in retirement, visit Designed Retirements today. Our program can put you on track to make the most of this incredible time of your life.