Reserve time for self-care, engagement to make the most of golden years

by Laura Bednar

The stereotype of seniors’ lifestyles slowing down as they age doesn’t necessarily hold true. Whether working or retired, seniors must balance their personal and social lives while making time for self-care.

Lisa Borchert, owner and clinical director of Avenues of Counseling & Mediation in Akron and Medina, said when it comes to time management, having a routine and something to look forward to is critical.

Seniors should balance their lives by deciding how much time they want to devote to certain activities. This could include taking care of the home, physical exercise, self-care and spirituality, according to Borchert. She said in their average day, seniors should think about “how they meet social, physical and spiritual connections.”

One way to monitor activities and tasks is to write them out on a calendar. “It gives people a sense of purpose,” said Borchert. “Looking at a calendar can help with [your] mood and feeling satisfied.”

In fact, when it comes to time management, having events to anticipate can improve overall health. Too many days spent in isolation or not engaging in activities can result in negative head space, while having a social outlet like a phone call or writing a letter can give seniors a sense of positivity.

“They need a solid support system to improve their mood,” Borchert said. “The mind does affect mood and feeling. It’s better to be active participants in whatever those things are that [seniors] choose to do.”

An alternative to a calendar is a journal, which allows seniors to keep track of and manage their moods. Borchert said people can refer back to the days where they felt best and remember what activities helped them feel that way. “Good days don’t just happen,” she said.

For those that are retired, Borchert added that it might be time to think about what they enjoy doing and what they may have put off until retirement.

A blog post from the American Association of Retired Persons outlined time management for seniors who may still be in the work world. However, many of the concepts can apply both in and out of professional life.

One tip is to match the day’s schedule to their body clock. “Many people find that they are more efficient at some times of day than others,” the post stated. If a more involved or difficult task is on the agenda for the day, tackle it when your mind and body are at their best.

Aligning time and priorities is also important when planning out the workday, week or month. According to the blog post, “As you schedule, remember to honor not only the promises you make to other people but also the commitments you make to yourself.” ∞