As we get closer to autumn, in the midst of an ever-changing time, sometimes we can forget to take time for ourselves. We may be helping neighbors, doing various jobs, being supportive to family, volunteering, or keeping up with the news. These are all important things to be doing. But we need to make sure that we’re taking time for self-care as well.
According to Medical Guardian, self-care means ““any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” Taking time for self-care is incredibly important, especially in times of stress. While it may feel selfish, it’s actually the opposite. Self-care means we are refreshed and able to meet our responsibilities with energy and focus. At SAIL we’re all about making sure older adults are living their best lives. Self-care is a very important part of that!
In a two-part series on our blog, we’ll be diving into some ideas for how our SAIL Members and other older adults can spend time caring for themselves.
“Life begins the day you start a garden.” – Chinese proverb
Gardening is an absolutely delightful way to take some time for yourself. It’s fun, it’s great exercise, and it’s excellent for your mind. Gardening has been proven to boost mood, support a healthy heart and blood pressure, and help with mental acuity.
If you’re a current gardener, follow a blog for tips, tricks, and ideas you may not have known! Click here for a list of great gardening blogs to follow online.
If you’ve never gardened before, now is a great time to start! Here’s an excellent guide to starting your garden. You can also check out this YouTube channel for lots of video advice!
Start a journal
“Putting pen to paper is a mystical way to access your most profound truths.” – Marie Foleo
Chances are, you have lots of things to write about! Journaling can take many forms. You can make lists, write down memories, draw pictures, and more. You can use a notebook, the word processing program on your computer, or even a typewriter. It can be just for you, or it can be something you share with your friends and loved ones. No matter how you do it, journaling is a great way to express yourself and access memories or ideas you may not even realize you had!
If you’re not sure what to write about, don’t worry! Click here for a list of terrific writing prompts to get the ideas flowing. You can also purchase a guided journal with questions written inside. Click here for some options from Amazon.
One fun spin on journaling is to keep a gratitude journal. Write down five things you’re thankful for that happen each day, like a beautiful sunset or taking a walk with a friend. Eventually expand it to seven, or ten, or more. It will get easier, and throughout the day you’ll be thinking of things to add to your journal! Click here for a list of gratitude journals recommended by psychologists.
Join an online book club
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
Not up for writing? How about diving into a good book? We love featuring great books on this blog, which you can find by clicking the word “Books” at the top of our blog page. No matter what you read, the activity gives you a window into worlds, adventures beyond your wildest dreams, and ideas to think about and discuss.
Now, in the world of the internet, you can join virtual book clubs and review the books you read. SAIL just had their first virtual book club and it was a great success! They will be meeting again in September to discuss The Murmur of the Bees by Sofia Segovia. You can also click here for national book clubs you can join, which will give you ideas for great books and connect you with readers all over the world.
Goodreads is a great network of readers where you can connect with friends, see reviews of just about any book you can think of, and post your own thoughts as you read! You can set goals for yourself, make a list of books you want to check out, and even vote in their end-of-year Reader’s Choice awards! Click here to create a free account.
Click here for a previous SAIL blog post on how you can get access to books online. Madison Public Libraries also have curbside pickup, which you can learn about by clicking here.
Create or enjoy art
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” -Thomas Merton
Anyone can create art of any kind. You can sing to your favorite songs, dance in your living room, paint, color, sculpt, read sonnets, play instruments, or anything else that makes you happy! Creating is a beautiful way to give of yourself, express your deepest loves, and see beauty in our complex world.
Not sure where to start? This monthly craft kid sends you supplies and ideas!
To find great songs to dance and sing along with, try Spotify, a free music player where you can search for your favorite songs, or Pandora, a site that creates a customized radio station based on your tastes!
Do you love Shakespeare? Read a play and, if you want, act out a part! All of Shakespeare’s plays are available on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone by clicking here.
Coloring is not just for kids anymore! If you want to express yourself by coloring a beautiful design or object, you can download and print thousands of pictures from this website.
Check the SAIL Messenger for more great options!
SAIL is doing a great job keeping Members connected! Check out the Messenger for articles, ideas, and virtual events coming up that will keep you motivated, informed, and entertained!
Self-care is essential
Next week, we’ll talk about things you can do for your physical health, which is also an essential part of self-care.
No matter what you do, your health depends on making sure you find time for joy and relaxation. We hope some of these suggestions work for you! If you have suggestions of things you’ve tried that you’d like to share with SAIL Members, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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