Activities for a Full Life

January 23, 2023

For the fourth year in a row, Newsweek ranked Kline Galland as the top nursing home in Washington state. Providing exceptional senior care by exceptional people every day for everyone can only happen through a collective effort. So, it’s important our employees stay healthy and lead their own lives to the fullest; self-care is a great way to ensure you can care for others as well.

Research has found that social engagement and productive activities contribute to better ageing in many ways. Active lifestyles (especially for older individuals) can reduce the risk of certain diseases like heart disease and stroke. Participating in different types of activities can boost happiness and life satisfaction, which in turn increases the ability to “bounce back” after challenging events. Memory may improve while lowering the possibility of dementia. And, thanks to all of these benefits, lifespans are likely to increase!

Here are three things you can do now that will help you energize, revitalize, and reset.

Connect. Relationships are closely linked to long, healthy, and happy living. In fact, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that doubling your group of friends was like a 50% increase in income for your well-being! Specific activities to try include:

  • Host a night of cards, charades, board games, or even musical chairs.
  • Schedule a video chat with friends and family; you can even do tea or cocktail hour together virtually.
  • Travel together to discover new local and not-so-local gems.
  • Put on a talent show, sharing music, poetry, jokes, or anything else.

Learn. Trying new things is one of the best ways to keep your mind in shape. Saamah Abdallah, a well-being economics expert and communication scientist, says, “It can boost your self-esteem and show you that you can do things. But it also builds that sense of autonomy, and a lot of learning happens in groups, in classes and courses which, if done well, means people can build relationships too.” Some ways to add learning to your life are:

  • Join a film or book club where you can discuss the themes and debate meaning.
  • Take a class through a community college or library to find out more about a specific subject (such as history) or activity (such as cooking).
  • Try out a new physical activity like yoga, tai chi, or dance.
  • Visit a local museum; even better, join the museum’s exhibit tour.

Relax. Relaxing is important and should be at the top of your list! Relaxation has shown to have a long list of benefits, including relieving muscle tension, improving brain function, and making the heart healthier. It also can alleviate symptoms of some medical and psychological disorders. To de-stress, incorporate these into your routine:

  • Schedule and take breaks using stretching or walking — without the phone — whenever possible.
  • Breathe deeply by slowly inhaling through the nose and gradually exhaling through the mouth.
  • Enjoy the little moments like drinking morning coffee or playing with a pet.
  • Practice gratitude and mindfulness and consider keeping a gratitude journal.

Ultimately, it’s important to actively do what you enjoy, whatever your interests or abilities, whether in person or online. Engaging with activities so your life is full can make it easier for you to help others with theirs.

Sources: Kline Galland; NIH; University of Minnesota; Psychologies; Yale