Like many baby boomers, my 50’s turned out to be challenging. Taking care of my mother who later died from Lewy Body Dementia, the death of my step mother, and helping grandchildren through a divorce left me exhausted and rattled. This is the year I’m hitting the pause button on what has been a stressful few years, taking a deep breath, and focusing on myself.
I’m done dwelling on what I can’t change or control. I refuse to let stress interfere with living life to the fullest.
That’s my pep talk to myself. And you know what? I’m making progress.
As I shared in a previous blog, I am taking time each and every day to do three things for myself during my year of healing. You can click on the link above to find out what those three things are.
Here are three more steps I’ve taken this week toward a happier me. I hope these tips will give all of you baby boomers some inspiration to take care of yourself as well.
Spend on Experiences
Hahaha. Make fun of us, I don’t care. This is every baby boomer’s ultimate dream!
After all, we’re the generation that refuses to grow old or grow up. Okay, we are getting older. I got my first senior discounted breakfast at I-Hop last weekend. Of course, the restaurant knows better than to call it that – it is simply named “The 55+ Menu.” Hey, I saved four dollars even though it hurt my pride. But my point is, we’re young at heart.
And ready to relive the 60s. We are talking Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Bob Dylan performing. We’re in the lawn section and will need binoculars, but I’m still stoked. Can’t wait!
Do something that makes you excited. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Science proves you’ll be happier spending money on experiences instead of things. New things make us happy, but only temporarily until we get used to having them. Then, the joy wears off.
However, the memories of experiences such as traveling, going to an art exhibit, learning a new skill – or rocking out to the Rolling Stones – will last forever. So forget that new iPhone or new pair of designer shoes. Cross something off your bucket list and live!
Take Care of Your Health
Okay, this one isn’t as exciting, but nevertheless, it’s an important step. After caregiving for a few years, I had neglected to care for my own health. Confession time: it had been four years since I had a check-up. At 55, that’s not good.
So, off to the doctor I dutifully went. Unfortunately, I have been stress eating and weighed in at 170. The doctor informed me that I’ve gained 10 pounds since I last visited four years ago. Thank you very much for sharing that bit of depressing news. “Weight can sneak up on you after menopause and start adding up fast,” he advised.
Really? I never would have guessed. Actually, I wrote a whole blog, My Menopausal Middle, on this very subject.
But, all right, all right. So, I’m concentrating on eating healthy and have lost four pounds so far. Trying to focus on eating lots of veggies from the garden, fruit, lean proteins, whole wheat. I feel better already.
Also did my blood work and got a mammogram today – where I learned that my once dense breasts are deflated now that I’m post menopausal. More cheerful news. My ego deflated a bit along with my boobs, but that does mean it makes the mammogram easier to read and more accurate.
Even with all the humiliating news, I feel better that I’m taking care of my health.
You already know that if you remain healthy and physically strong, you’ll be happier, right? So quit procrastinating and get started today to a healthier you!
Get a Pet
Her name is Rey Anne ( the first name is Star Wars related since my son picked her up on May the Fourth be with You; the second name is for the girls’ favorite movie). She is a German Shepherd, seven weeks old, and we’re all in love.
Yes, puppies are a ton of work, but she makes me laugh with her awkward puppy clumsiness that causes her to slide across my wood floor. This morning, when I couldn’t find her, she was in the kids’ room snuggled up into my oldest granddaughter’s pajama top. That warmed my heart and made me smile.
Studies show pet owners tend to be less depressed, lonely, and stressed. They exhibit greater self-esteem and are usually more physically fit. If you’re a baby boomer like me, you may want to skip the puppy part and adopt a grown dog – it is exhausting! However, let’s face it, these furry creatures make us happier.
So there you go. Those are my three steps towards happiness I took this last week.
What did you do this week to bring more joy into your life? I’d love to hear! Please share in the comments below.
Images courtesy of graur razvan, ionut ponsuwan, and photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.