Caring for ourselves, part two: Mind and body

Last week, we posted our first look at ways to practice self-care, which means “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.” (Medical Guardian). It can be tough to remember to take care of ourselves, particularly with all of our other responsibilities. Though self-care might feel like we’re being selfish, it’s actually the exact opposite. When we pause to care for ourselves, we refresh and recharge so we can be fully prepared to fulfill our other responsibilities.

Last week’s post looked at self-care for our hearts and souls. This week we’ll look at the mind and body. In the end, however, the self-care activities we’ve talked about benefit our mind, body, heart, and soul in some way.

Below are some ways to attend to aspects of your mind and body as you exercise self-care.

Start or keep up that exercise routine!

Exercise

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.” -Jim Rohn

You knew this would be at the top of the list! There’s no doubt about it. Moving the body is excellent for health, mood, strength, focus, and more.

Sometimes, though, it can be hard to find an exercise routine that’s right for you. There are so many options! You want something that is fun, that you have time for, and that is healthy for your specific needs. This article from Silver Sneakers recommends nine great types of exercise to try.

Don’t have a gym membership? No problem! There are plenty of exercises you can do at home. Googling “exercise video for seniors” will bring up many options on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. This channel has a wide variety of options specifically designed for older adults.

Before you start an exercise program, make sure to consult with your physician. If you have injuries or conditions affected by exercise, it’s important to make sure what you’re doing is safe.

Try something new and healthy.

Try new foods and healthy recipes

“There are only so many flavors-it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.” -Wolfgang Puck

Cooking is fun, keeps the mind sharp, and has a great reward at the end! Now is a terrific time to try new, healthy recipes at home, using delicious ingredients.

If you don’t want to go to the grocery store, it’s easy to have groceries delivered or order for curbside pickup. You can find more information at your favorite grocery store’s website, or enter your zip code on this site to get your items.

One fun way to try something new is to sign up for a food box delivery. People are going crazy for businesses like Imperfect Foods and Misfit Markets, which deliver items that may not look pretty, but taste great and would otherwise go to waste. Some of our members have shared their own positive experiences with these businesses. You can also sign up for Willy Street Co-op’s Local Fruit and Veggie boxes, delivered weekly. What comes in the boxes is a surprise, so once it arrives, you can go hunting for fun new recipes!

The internet is full of resources for healthy recipes for older adults. Check out this list of 20 easy recipes, this list of vegetarian recipes, and this list of great recipes for diabetics. Google will find even more items for you!

If you’d like to work with a nutritionist, check out SAIL’s Service Provider Directory (available to SAIL Members) for vetted providers our members love. You can also give us a call at 608-230-4321 for a recommendation.

Finally, click here for a tool to help you find and support farmers all over Wisconsin, and check out this past SAIL blog post from Jesi Hirsch, RN on food as medicine. (Yummy recipe included!)

Find your inner peace.

Try meditation

“Meditation is a process of lightening up, of trusting the basic goodness of what we have and who we are, and of realizing that any wisdom that exists, exists in what we already have.” -Pema Chodron

It may not be your thing, but if you’re willing to give it a try, meditation could be great for you. Lately, more studies and articles have cited that meditating for older adults can help with cognitive function, processing emotions, and working through physical problems. The practice goes back to 1500 BC, so its benefits have been enjoyed for a very long time!

Meditation is simply the practice of being quiet and focused on being present in the moment. There are many variations of meditation, such as mindfulness, or focusing on one specific thought. This article from Next Avenue details the benefits of meditation for older adults and some tips on getting started.

This YouTube playlist can be accessed on your computer, tablet, or smartphone and provides a variety of 10 to 20 minute mindfulness meditation videos you can try. The soothing music and beautiful pictures accompany a voice that guides you through the process. If you’d like to get a book or two for guidance, here’s a list of titles from Amazon.com, many of which can also be found through the Madison Public Library system. You can also download guided meditation apps on your smartphone, such as the ones listed here.

Get a good night’s sleep

We all need our beauty rest!

“Sleep is the best meditation.” — Dalai Lama

Speaking of meditation, get your “zzzzzzs!” A good night’s sleep cannot be underestimated and is truly the ultimate self-care. Sleeping is our body’s way of recharging our physical and mental batteries so we’re ready to go each day.

The National Institute on Aging provides this site with lots of information on getting a good night’s sleep, including dealing with insomnia, creating a routine, and dealing with certain disorders that might make sleep difficult.

Make sure everything’s healthy.

Check in with your doctor and pharmacist

There’s never a bad time to touch base with your healthcare providers for a checkup, to address a certain issue, or to review your medications. SAIL offers periodic medication reviews for members to do with a pharmacist, and plans to do so virtually this fall, so keep an eye on the SAIL Messenger for details, or call your providers directly to check in! Although many clinics are offering appointments virtually, members can contact SAIL at 608-230-4321 if they need help getting to an appointment.

Don’t forget about you!

We know life gets crazy. It can be tough to take time for the things we’ve suggested. But when we do, all of that crazy stuff is a lot easier to manage! We at SAIL hope you’re taking time for yourself in mind, body, heart, and soul. Please let us know if we can do anything to help! We’re available Monday-Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 608-230-4321 or info@sailtoday.org.

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