It is an extremely frightening time for people of all ages across the world. In North America, we are all doing our best to stay home and help flatten the curve. The act of self-isolation, however, can take its mental toll – specifically for Active Agers.
Did you know that nearly half of older adults have increased their consumption of broadcast TV since the COVID-19 quarantines started? Many have been glued to the television, anxiously awaiting news updates and announcements. While, in the right amounts, this can help keep us informed, too much news can have an extremely detrimental effect on overall health and well-being, and certainly can get in the way of “self-care”.
The last few years have seen an increase in the trend of “self-care”, specifically targeted at a millennial audience – yet there has been less focus on this for older consumers. Numerous products and services have come to market, claiming to help young people keep their minds clear and centered.
As the “self-care” concept has grown in popularity (specifically among younger generations), now more than ever, people across the world are seeing it as an important practice. As a millennial myself (and a self-professed guinea pig for a lot of self-care methods) I thought I’d round up three of my top ways to practice self-care during this difficult time, with some key tips and product recommendations for Active Agers.
1. Control Your News Feeds
Contrary to popular belief, the world is not all doom and gloom right now. It’s important that you keep updated about local health announcements and government changes – but set a limit. Mainstream media channels and newspapers are overflowing (rightly-so) with pandemic-only news. Check once a day for necessary updates, and then harness your own digital control and curate your personal news feed by following only the accounts and publications that you know will bring you joy. There are many websites where you can include only the keywords, publications and news trends you want to see.
You can change your daily outlook by harnessing the power that comes from curating your personal news feed! Whether this means prioritizing certain topics on your Facebook news feed (so that you can see pictures of your cousins without being bombarded by health statistics), or subscribing to a custom newsfeed site like Feedly, setting healthy boundaries is just a click away and easier to set up than you’d think.
2. Meaningful Relaxation
This may sound counter-intuitive. More relaxing? Even though we are in our homes more often, maybe even sitting on the couch slightly more than usual – we still need to be sure we’re getting enough real relaxation so we don’t feel even more stressed and drained than we likely already are. The most obvious way to recharge is to regulate your sleep cycle – try to go to bed and wake up at a consistent time every day. Practice good sleep hygiene and ban your cell phone from your bedroom – it actually keeps you awake! In addition to getting a good night’s rest, try taking up meditation. Doing simple relaxation meditation (literally five minutes or less) can make you feel less fatigued and run-down. Headspace is an extremely versatile and accessible mobile app that you can turn to for step-by-step guided meditations – it’s easy-to-use and very approachable for meditation newbies.
3. Let’s Get Physical!
Being physically active is about much more than physical appearance. Frankly, when couched in the overall theme of self-care, physical activity is predominately for mental health purposes. Moving makes you feel good. It sends the signal to your brain – “Hey! Get up! We’re going somewhere and doing something today!” – even if you’re not leaving your house. In a time where connection feels more strained than ever, it helps to successfully connect your mind to your body. Phone calling and video chatting friends is all well and good, but how can you connect with others if you’re lacking a meaningful connection to yourself? It can be as easy as a walk around the block, or perhaps taking advantage of the many stay-at-home workout options: the Peloton app is currently offering a free 90-day trial for new members (not just bike workouts, but yoga classes, guided walks, no equipment strength circuits, and open-level family fun classes).
Do you have any self-care tips or recommendations you think could help other Active Agers? Let us know in the comments below. Stay safe and be kind to one another (and yourself)!