Having a connection with a faith community may offer a person a "second family". Typically, church members help each other in times of need, support each other emotionally, and offer the opportunity to get to know a wide range of people with similar thinking. Some faith communities offer additional support such as transportation, adult day care, child care, etc.
If you belong to a faith community or choose to become involved, be an active participant and use the opportunities offered to give back to your community. People who do this say it gives them much more than they give in terms of self-satisfaction, self-discovery, and connecting to others in a very real and tangible way.
A faith community may provide you with social interaction as well. Use your imagination and find the best match for you to help you keep engaged with others.
Remember, friends make the world go around. Seek out others of like mind and spirit. Enjoy each other. Enjoy community. Enjoy life. Be willing to wear red and purple - together! (Check out the "Red Hat Society" ladies.) Do what makes you happy. And, do it with others. Your spirit will lift and should you find yourself in need, you'll have a support system of loving caring friends.
But, what if you're stuck in a rut. You do the same thing every day in the same way. Life just isn't as interesting as it used to be - but you don't know what to do. To reclaim your vitality and "joie de vivre", you need to change.
The first step is to recognize that you are in a rut. Sometimes that's the hardest thing to do. It's like not being able to see the forest for the trees. Once you do realize that you are in a rut, the next big issue is the fear of change. Uncertainty is frightening to many people. These same people would rather exist in an unfulfilling circumstance rather than break free and really live life to the fullest.
The good news is that there are ways to move past the fear.
- Be willing to move outside your current comfort zone. Don't allow yourself to be "captured" by the same dialogue you have had with yourself in the past.
- Break the new change down to smaller components so you aren't doing multiple changes at once.
- Surround yourself with people who understand and support your new goal and can help you succeed.
- Identify your strengths and what activities allow you to use them.
- Challenge yourself. Start small. Think big.
- Develop a sense of purpose. Feeling like a valued contributing member of a bigger whole often produces excitement and a sense of purpose. This leads to greater life satisfaction.
Remember that everyone gets stuck in a rut at some point - whether it involves a job, a relationship, or how we view and approach the world. It takes courage to stand out and be yourself instead of blending in and becoming invisible. You can't please everyone all the time and you can't do everything for everybody. Don't allow yourself to be the person who is in a rut and the best you can offer is to always complain. You are better than that and you deserve more than that. Get going today to a new life! It's there for you to experience and savor.
And, keep your brain healthy and engaged. Don't be the older person who, when faced with learning something new states "I'm too old to learn this" or "You can't teach an old dog new tricks". In fact, the more you use your brain, the higher level of functioning you will find you have. Social relationships, physical activity, and mental challenges all impact the brain in a healthy way.
So, what are some steps you can take to have a healthy brain?
- Don't retire in the usual sense of the word. Volunteer . Try a new line of work that you're interested in. Pursue that hobby you never had time for before.
- Have a clear purpose or meaning in your life for getting up in the morning. Don't succumb to boredom as the driving force in your life.
- Try a "lifelong" learning course at your local university. The Triangle is blessed with a great selection of institutions of higher learning. Many have programs specially designed for older adults with low fees. Some even have sliding fee scales or scholarships. Some offer travel as a means of learning and exploring life.
- Try new things. Television is OK, but in moderation. Try music, art, crafts, fencing, line dancing, a new language, gardening, travel, sudoku, any number of offerings to keep you engaged and active both physically and mentally.
- Exercise every day. You could walk with a friend. Play with your dog. Do yard work. Try to do both aerobic/cardiovascular and strength exercise. Variety is the spice of life and works to the health of your body and mind.
- Do you meditate? If not, check it out. Even blue chip companies now have people come in to show employees how to meditate. Why? Because it helps them to be calm and focused. Both those traits are great for the mind, the co-workers, and the bottom-line. They can be great for you too.
- Keep involved socially. Visit or do things with friends. Check
out your local Senior
Center. You may be surprised at what they have to offer. Locate
them through your Area Agency on Aging. Don't become isolated. If you
have a physical disability that keeps you homebound, try reaching out
on the computer.
Need help? Contact your local
- And, the most important of all - have fun.
|Good health is more than just the absence of illness. Rather, it is a very robust state of physical and emotional well-being, that acknowledges the importance and inseparability of mind/body relationships. If you are having difficulty feeling connected and feeling joy for life and community, there is help available.|
A good first step is to schedule an appointment with your doctor. You may be experiencing a chemical imbalance, depression, or your medications may be interacting adversely with one another.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a Toll-Free Hotline for those who need a referral to someone to talk to in confidence and privacy.
There is also online support through a variety of organizations and agencies.
Exercise Fuels the Brain's Stress Buffers
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
|And, remember, there are lots of fun ways to become involved. Check out your local Senior Center. NC Senior Games has a Silver Arts competition where folks compete in categories such as Heritage Arts, Visual Arts, Literary Arts, and Performing Arts. There's something for everyone. What an outstanding way to meet like-minded people and express yourself at the same time!|
|Find a Senior Center Through Your Area Agency on Aging|
|National Senior Games|
|NC Senior Games|