Last year was one we’d all like to forget! Now, we are faced with a new beginning, a time to make new changes for the better. We aren’t aging backward, so making an effort to strive for a renewed sense of purpose and positively impact our overall health and well-being should be tops on our 2021 To-Do list. We should always work towards cultivating a greater understanding of purpose in our lives. Purpose is what fuels us; it keeps us going even during tough times.
It is never too late to make a pact with yourself to do better, live better. Try one of these New Year’s resolutions to foster a sense of purpose and improve your overall health.
- Put a care plan in place. Tomorrow is not promised, which is why a care plan is so important. No one ever plans to be sick or disabled. Yet, it’s this kind of planning that can make all the difference in an emergency. Get your affairs in order—personal records (medical records, military records, list of medications, social security info, religious contacts, contacts for doctors/relative/friends), financial records (bank/investment accounts, income tax returns, car titles, location of a safety deposit box and key, liabilities, mortgages, debts, insurance info), legal documents (wills, lawyer info, advance health directives, trusts, power of attorney)
- Let the junk food go! As you age and the kids move out, experts say that less time is spent overall preparing and cooking foods. Mature adults tend to reach for more convenience when it comes to their dietary needs that require less planning, less use of ovens, grills, or stovetops, greater use of appliances such as microwaves and toasters. Convenience foods are often unhealthy. They typically contain high amounts of salt, sugar, and fats, and overindulging in products that contain these ingredients can undoubtedly lead to health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Cut out junk foods like soda, salty snacks, fast foods, packaged sweets. Reach for healthy greens, fruits, lean meats, and fiber-rich foods like whole-grain bread, pasta, and brown rice.
- Add more Vitamin D to your diet. Vitamin D insufficiency is prevalent among Blacks. The nutrient promotes calcium absorption in the gut, and helps prevent bones from becoming brittle, misshapen, or weak. Add more vitamin D into your diet pronto—egg yolks, cheese, beef liver, and fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel). Folks who are up to 70 years young need 600 IU’s of vitamin D daily; those over age 70 need 800 IU’s daily. Ask your doctor to check your levels of D to see if you are deficient in the vitamin.
- Get moving! Aging comes with a loss of muscle mass and mobility so stay active. Regular exercise can help you build strong muscles, stave off chronic illnesses, make you tight in the waist and yes, even cute in the face! Even moderate amounts can actually shave years off your age. Find an exercise you enjoy (walking, swimming, dancing, walking up and downstairs, biking) in whatever environment that suits you and make moving a habit.
- Record your life story. It is essential to talk with your children or the younger members of your family about their history, culture, and ancestors. The younger generation must know they are a living legacy. Hands-down, the most valuable family heirloom you can pass down through generation to generation is the history and culture of your family. With this information comes self-respect, pride, and a strong sense of belonging. Tracing your family history can seem overwhelming, but it really does not have to be. Even if you don’t have a clue as to who your ancestors were for more than two generations before you, you will probably still know more than the young people in your family. The only way to pass down what knowledge you have about your family history is to write it down and see where it takes you.
- Get some much-needed sleep. Insomnia is more common for seniors, partly because of health issues, partly because of the anxiety and the concerns of aging, and sometimes because of medication. It’s important to address the root cause of sleepless nights. The average senior needs seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel well-rested and alert the next day. See your doctor if you’re not getting restful sleep at night and are unable to wake up refreshed. Healthy sleep is something we all should expect at every age.
- Pray. When your heart and mind are in turmoil, it can be difficult to achieve a state of calm. Prayer can influence our state of mind, which then have an effect on our state of body. It can help with anxiety, sadness, blood pressure, sleep, digestion and breathing. It can also influence thinking. None of us are perfect at prayer, but as we take steps to grow spiritually in our prayer life, the impact is incredible. Prayers have moved mountains and transformed people to become beings of love, joy, and peace.