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Articles Posted in Health and Wellness

Aging-Quote-300x200Aging isn’t easy, but we all have to do it. Contrary to the myth our culture tries to sell us, there is no escaping the march of time and the changes it brings to our bodies, minds, and lives. And these days, understanding how to age well is increasingly important since our golden years stretch out for much longer than they used to. In the last hundred years or so, the average life expectancy has increased by almost thirty years.

The key, as it turns out, to being happy during the latter part of life is to discover and embrace the concept of positive aging.

This can be tricky, especially in a country like the United States, where getting older is something most people either ignore or fight. But science is proving that while aging may not be a bed of roses, there are lots of things we can do to make the process more enjoyable and ensure greater happiness and better health along the way.

FamilyBored-264x300Once the holidays are behind us and winter proper has settled in, we will likely find ourselves with some extra time on our hands.

In years past, trips and getting together with friends and family helped to break up the long, dark season between New Year’s and springtime. But the travel and social restrictions that are necessary to keep us and our loved ones safe from COVID will make it necessary to find other ways to entertain ourselves.

In case you’ve already watched all of Netflix (or are just looking for something beyond the latest binge-worthy show), we’ve put together a starter list of fascinating lectures, talks, and podcasts.

pinecone-300x300All across the country, the pandemic numbers are trending steeply in the wrong direction. Epidemiologists have long warned of a difficult winter season, and we certainly seem to have arrived on the threshold of that prediction.

Sadly, this rise in cases coincides with the winter holidays, traditionally a time for friends and family to gather in year-end celebrations that begin at the end of November and run through the New Year. This means that families will be facing some very hard decisions about get-togethers in the upcoming weeks.

The problem is that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize holidays. And while people may be exhausted by the grueling experience that we’ve all been in since March, now is not the time to relax our guard.

covid-turkeys-300x184
It has been an extraordinarily long haul since the first lockdowns in March. We’ve all had to adjust to the “new normal” as it has affected how we work, learn, play, and go about our daily rounds. Most of us have gotten pretty good at adapting; but the hardest test is yet to come.

With the holidays right around the corner, our patience and willpower are going to be severely tried. This is the season of friends and family, of gathering together in celebration and thanks. The thought of having to forgo long-held traditions is almost too much to bear.

Despite the heartache that comes with staying apart, many families have committed to doing just that. Instead of traveling to be together, they are planning holiday dinners that will take place over Zoom – virtual gatherings are, of course, the safest choice during a pandemic.

letter-writing-300x200By Jill Brightman

I’ll admit it.  I love to text.  It’s quick and it’s easy.  And, why struggle to find the right (auto-corrected) words when I have a variety of emojis right at my fingertips?

The advent of email, text messaging, and social media have undoubtedly changed our communication style, providing a convenient and fast way for us to keep in touch with others.  But these innovations, as helpful as they are, have also left us missing something – the beauty and joy of writing and receiving the written word in the form of a letter.

rollercoaster-300x200Since March, life has been very, very different. It’s hard to know how to deal with all the changes. A lot of us apparently started this journey hoarding toilet paper and learning how to make sourdough starter. We attended virtual concerts starring big-name musicians who broadcast from their living rooms. We watched the news incessantly, learned how to Zoom, and tried desperately to keep up with what we should and shouldn’t be doing to ensure the safety of ourselves and our loved ones.

It has been a long, difficult six months.

No one can be blamed for having a lot of emotions right now. As people keep pointing out, this is an “unprecedented” situation. Between the disruption of our daily lives and the sky-high levels of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, it’s a miracle that we’re managing to hold it together at all.

downsizing

“Downsizing” is one of those words that seems simple, but can be wrought with overwhelming and emotional baggage. While it’s easy to embrace the concept – a smaller space, fewer possessions – actually getting rid of stuff is often harder than expected.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise since we spend most of our lives accumulating “stuff.”

Year after year, we buy and collect, receive gifts, and save mementos, and it slowly fills up every drawer, shelf, attic space, closet, and corner of the garage. And then, in the course of a few weeks or months, we’re faced with undoing decades’ worth of acquiring.

It’s not easy. Continue reading

AdobeStock_97938605-1-300x200It’s never too late to explore your artistic side. In fact, many people discover that the second half of life is the perfect time to learn an art or craft.

Whether you decide to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush, sit down at a potter’s wheel, or strap on some dancing shoes, the arts offer countless opportunities for enrichment, fulfillment, and joy.

Many of our most beloved artists got their starts later in life. Monet didn’t get serious about painting until he was in his forties. Forty may be young by today’s standards, but in Monet’s day the average life expectancy hovered around the early sixties, making forty almost “venerable.”

family-tree-252x300While shows like TLC’s Who Do You Think You Are? and PBS’ Finding Your Roots have definitely contributed to the popularity of researching our ancestry, people have always been curious about their family heritage. It’s human nature to want to know where we come from and who we come from.

As it turns out, exploring genealogy makes an excellent hobby, especially for older adults. It’s something that’s accessible to anyone with an internet connection. It can be enjoyed from the comfort of home. And it offers many other social and emotional benefits:

Sense of Purpose

Earth-in-grass-300x200The COVID-19 pandemic may be putting our human lives on pause, but it hasn’t slowed nature down at all. In fact, in many instances around the world, the slowing of human activity has led to what many see as an opportunity for the Earth to rest and heal.

What a beautiful thing to ponder.

The slowing of industry in places like India and China has reduced pollution to its lowest levels in years. Many cities in India are being treated to views of the majestic Himalayas for the first time in three decades. Even Los Angeles has seen a striking drop in its trademark smog.

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