Resolutions You Can Live With- Empowering Health and Wellness

It is a New Year, and with it countless opportunities to renew, rethink and re-energize our commitments to take care of ourselves —and engage in wellness aging. After all, if you don’t do it, who will?

In fact, The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) provides an opportunity to rethink elder home care, health, and wellness. Rather than focus on the management of disease and disorders, the concept focuses on empowering prevention and proactive strategies. The council identifies seven areas of wellness: emotional, intellectual/cognitive, physical, professional, environmental, spiritual and social.

These seven pillars provide a strong support system for active aging. Any one, or all of them, can help you enhance your wellbeing and wellness aging. The more you try, the better!

1. Emotional Wellbeing 

The NIH notes that psychological wellbeing and health are closely linked as we age. Finding joy, happiness, coping with sadness/stress, and a sense of purpose provide a strong wellness component. When challenges are too great, the ability to reach out for support–with family and friends, or professionals, strengthen emotional wellness and wellbeing.

2. Intellectual/Cognitive Engagement 

Keeping your brain active can be fun and healthy! Try taking a class at your local senior center or community college, join a choir, learn something new, read a book, play board games (scrabble anyone?)  work on puzzles, or learn a new language. Your brain will not only appreciate the challenge, but the change of routine as well.

3. Physical

 Check with your doctor first, and then find something that suits your style–walking, swimming, dancing, and weight bearing activities all help maintain good physical health. But wait–there’s more! Good eating habits, adequate sleep and healthy lifestyle choices support a sense of wellbeing and prolonged independence. And quite frankly, you just feel better. If you are unsure where to start–try your local YMCA, senior center or a community fitness center focused on intergenerational classes. 

4. Professional

Working? Volunteering? Stay engaged as long as you feel you can. Retirement is the perfect time to try new skills. Paid and unpaid work can provide a sense of accomplishment, socialization, and a wonderful contribution to the community.  The expertise and knowledge you share can be invaluable — and even life changing– to others. 

5. Environmental

Connecting with the environment–taking a walk, growing a garden, enjoying a walk in the park, recycling and respecting the planet all contribute to a sense of a connected wellbeing and purposeful sense of stewardship.

6. Spiritual

Whether it is personal, group, mindfulness, mediation or any form of connecting and strengthening your personal moral compass, research suggests a strong wellness benefit connection leads to better health.

7. Social

Social interactions are a key component to better health and wellness. Engaging in enjoyable activities with others—family, friends, volunteering and working support good emotional and physical health. The National Institute on Aging points to research that supports a “strong correlation between social interaction and health and well-being”.  Find time each day to connect with others to increase better health and wellness.

So—welcome 2018 with the resolution to try some, or better yet all, of the above Seven Wellness Pillars. We know we will!

Blog Sources: The National Institute of Health, National Institute on Aging, and the International Council on Active Aging.