WELLDERLY WEEK 2022
Wellness is an umbrella term – a word that encapsulates different elements and different principles. While we may think we know what wellness is, it’s hard to define; hard to determine each element behind it. This week, we’re celebrating Wellderly Week and trying to improve wellness through all our communities by giving our residents a better awareness of what wellness means and how they can incorporate it into their lives.
Held starting on the third Monday of March each year, Wellderly Week seeks to underscore the importance of wellness and health in the lives of people older than 60. It seeks to reframe the aging process and help people embrace their age through wellness, both mental and physical.
We are in an era where the traditional concepts of age are changing and people are remaining active, both physically and socially, for longer than they ever have before. Wellness is important because it’s the fuel that keeps our engines running and allows people to remain involved, whether it be with their families, with their community or even a sport they love.
So, what are the elements behind wellness? There are three, and you’ll find that they are all intertwined.
Mental wellness is defined by the Global Wellness Institute as “how we think; how we process, understand and use information.” It is a renewable and dynamic resource, an internal experience that requires intentional action to maintain. It is a lifelong process that helps one better understand the human condition and live a life in which stress is minimized and enjoyment is maximized.
Mental wellness can be independent of mental health. In other words, it exists in its own plane, independent of other factors that exist. To be mentally well is to be the best that you can possibly be while working within the confines of your life to maximize your existence. That requires a sense of purpose and resilience, combined with healthy coping strategies to combat stress, sadness and anger.
The best way to improve mental wellness is to be in touch with your emotions and to understand how you feel and why you are feeling it. Activities like journaling and meditation can help with this. Another way to improve mental wellness is to attend activities that focus on healing. One such example is religious services, as belief in a higher power has been shown to have positive effects on mental wellness.
Physical wellness results in a healthy body that can withstand the internal and external stressors placed upon the body each day. The most obvious example of physical wellness is physical appearance, but the principle extends beyond that. Physical wellness encompasses a healthy diet, healthy sleep patterns, exercise and mental wellness.
Basic strength training is something every adult should do. This can be as simple as walking in place or lifting light weights. By maintaining muscular strength, adults lessen the risk of falling and are able to move easier, improving their social and mental wellness.
Sleep is perhaps the most overlooked factor when it comes to physical wellness. Research shows that people who sleep less than seven hours each night are at a higher risk of multiple serious health conditions. Sleep also lets the body heal and the mind convert memories, making it all the more vital to maintaining wellness.
Social well-being is essential to overall wellness. Research has shown that people over 60 who consistently interact with friends are less likely to develop dementia. Additionally, social isolation has been linked to high blood pressure, depression, heart disease and cognitive decline. Social contact is most meaningful when it is with people outside of the family unit.
That’s why it is so important to stay active as you get older. Though it may seem like it is hard to make friends at times, there are plenty of ways to forge new connections with like-minded individuals. Many community centers offer painting programs or bingo nights, both of which can be great ways to interact with new people and expand your social circle.
Have a cause that you care about? Volunteering can be another way to meet new people and give back to the community at the same time. There are plenty of websites that can help facilitate such an arrangement, like VolunteerMatch, and help you find the right opportunity.
Remember – the brain is like a muscle in that it needs constant use to stay strong and sharp. By staying socially engaged, you get to use it more, furthering the wellness cycle.
As this week comes and goes, it’s important to remember that wellness isn’t something you can commit to one week each year. You have to be consistent about it, committing to the activities each day. It might seem like a lot at first, but you’ll notice results soon!