Quote for the Week: June 28, 2015

 

She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind. (Toni Morrison, Beloved)

How wondeful it is to have forever friends. 44 years as friends and still going strong.

Living to be 100 – the Blue Zones

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 61– 5/25/15 

 

sunset on Saronic Gulf of Aegean Sea near Athens, Greece

Sunset on Saronic Gulf of Aegean Sea near Athens, Greece

I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about centenarians lately. Recently in my workplace, employees had the opportunity to watch a Ted Talk video by Dan Buettner (How to Live to be 100). Beuttner pointed out that while it’s certainly not “easy” to live to 100, there are areas of the world where it is more common to do so.  He described the blue zones – places where people commonly live to a ripe old age.  And in my current class through Ed2Go (Healthy Aging), I read that centenarians are the fastest growing demographic group in the world.

One thing that struck me as I watched the video was that in these blue zone communities, there was a sense of respect for the elders (family came first, and that meant keeping parents and grandparents close, not casting them off in nursing homes) and a strong sense of community. The centenarians in these communities had a sense of belonging and of purpose.  

Lovely grandmother with her family outside their house

After all, what’s the point of a long life if you’re stuck in a nursing home or in your own home, vulnerable and isolated?  Our American society would do itself a favor by treating their elderly with respect and compassion. As individuals, we can also enhance our aging by having a “take charge” attitude toward our health and not letting those old age stereotypes govern our lives   According to health and aging researchers, we can add over a decade of to our lives, unhindered by age-related diseases,  simply by taking the measures followed by people in the “blue zones.” 

You can read more about aging in the blue zones in the March/April 2015 edition of the Positive Aging Newsletter from the Taos Institute. 

The Taos Institute 

You can get the newsletter sent directly to your inbox 

For further reading:

7 Cultures that Celebrate Aging and Respect their Elders. 

Places that you don’t live as an older person (scary and sad) 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009 – 2015

Social Wellness for Vital Aging

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 31 – 3/13/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday: 

I believe that dancing with life includes social wellness.  We sure don’t need any scientific evidence (though there is an abundance of it out there) to prove that friendship, family and community connections are important for vital aging.  

If you’re looking for some social wellness opportunities, keep reading.  

Do you love to read, and want to meet other like-minded people? Join an online book club I recently found a Facebook group page, What R U Reading?  After joining this group, I met some fellow readers and I’m now getting some great reading suggestions.  Some of these ladies are local to my area, and we started going to our local movie theatre, then go to a local coffee shop to discuss the movie.  It’s been fun to meet new friends who have helped me get into the reading groove again.  

Are you looking for other people who share your specific interests?  You may want to check out the Meetup website.  You sign up for free, create a profile indicating your interests, and the site provides you with meetup groups in your local area.  

Looking for a way to help your local community?  Take a look at your city’s website to see if your community has a community foundation or other boards/commissions that provide volunteering opportunities.

A few other volunteering websites:

To help other women and girls in a variety of ways:  LiveYourDream 

From AARP, CreatetheGood  You can subscribe and get volunteering opportunities in your area sent directly to your inbox. 

Are you homebound or simply want the flexibility of helping from home? You can try online volunteering:

CareerVillage – Volunteers give career advice to low-income high school students.  

Idealist – Provides a wide variety of online volunteering opportunities:  mentoring, staffing crisis hotlines, assisting with research/writing/editing, helping fundraising for nonprofits, and much more.

For further reading: 

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Women + Friends = Wellness

Making Friends Late in Life 

UCLA Study on Friendship among Women

 

Music for Vital Aging

The Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 30 – 3/11/15

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In my recent post, May I have this Dance, I mentioned that I’d been listening to a new radio station, Alt Nation.  My twenty-something daughter introduced me to that station after I subscribed to Sirius radio. As a Detroiter, I’ve always leaned toward Motown music, the sixties and of course, classic rock from the seventies.  But recently, I’ve been wanting to introduce some new music to my brain.  My musical tastes are in a time warp, and I need to shake it up a little!

The old songs we listen to have a way of evoking long-forgotten memories, good times, old friends and loved ones. The song “Isn’t Life Strange,” from Blues album, Seventh Sojourn, always makes me think about my brother, who died unexpectedly in April of 2000. Other songs bring back memories of great (and not so great) times of my angst-ridden teenage years.   

Would you want to live without music? I sure wouldn’t. Imagine a movie without music in the background, developing the mood of that particular scene. Imagine seeing a bride walking down the aisle without hearing that familiar tune that defines a wedding. Not having lullabies to sing your child to sleep, nor songs that make us want to get up and dance with abandon. . . . Life would definitely be strange!

For me, there’s no denying that music is a part of vital aging – just because it brings pleasure to our lives.  

There’s also some scientific evidence that shows it benefits our emotional wellness and our brains.  A DocShop TV video helps visualize the ways that music benefits our health, no matter what our age.  For example, listening to music can lower our blood pressure.  

Other research talks about how music can boost our mood.  (Not that I needed any research to realize that) I just discovered a new song, My Typeby a group called Saint Motel, and it makes me want to move in a way that vaguely resembles dancing.  I have my daughter to thank for that, since if it wasn’t for her, I’d be listening to the same old, same old tunes! 

 For Further Reading:

A Few of Bea’s Favorite Posts

 

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Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 26 – 3/2/15

Bea’s daughter was in town this week-end, and they needed some “girl time,” shopping and lunching at the mall.  Which meant that writing a post for today’s wellness project fell by the wayside. 

Instead, Bea is sharing a few of her old favorite posts and hopes you enjoy them!

10 Minute Energy Boosts

Can You Hear Me Now?

Ladies, You’ve Got to Have Friends!

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Enhance your Social Wellness

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 15 – 2/6/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

How to “bee” happier and enhance your social wellness:

1.  Be kind to someone else, quietly.

2.  Don’t speak; simply listen.

3.  Pay attention to your kids; give them your presence.

4.  Send a loved one an “un-birthday” card – just to show you’re thinking about them.

5.  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a few moments.

6.  Volunteer at an animal shelter.

7.  Help a neighbor.

8. Collect food for a local food pantry.

9. Have a kid in college?  Send ’em a care package.

10. Call a friend, just to chat.

 Friday’s Quote:

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love. (Marcus Aurelius)

7 Ways to Enhance your Mental Health in 2015

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 6 – 1/16/15

  •  Learn something new. Bea recently decided to learn how to play the keyboard. There was a perfectly good keyboard sitting in her basement, just taking up space. So Bea thought, “What the heck; I always wanted to play the piano as a kid, why not give this a whirl?” So far, she’s gotten the keyboard upstairs and now it’s taking up space in her computer room. Little steps, folks, little steps.
  • Get a good laugh each day – and by good laugh, I mean a belly laugh! We grown-ups just don’t laugh enough. What’s not to like about laughing? It’s good for our mental and physical health, and reduces tension and stress.  At Funnywebsite you can sign up for a daily newsletter.   If you enjoy work humor, try Dilbert.  You can also find some funny boards at Pinterest.
  • Sing in your shower or out loud in your car along with your favorite music. There’s no research on it (or maybe there is, but Bea has never googled it), but it’s simply fun and who the heck cares if people in other cars look at you like your crazy? At least you’re not road raging!
  • Feeling down in the dumps? Give a friend a call!  It seems like more of a woman thing, but friendships are important for men, too. Friendship is good for your social wellness; isolation is bad for our mental health, especially as we age.

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  • Do something kind for someone without them knowing it. Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, found in her research that performing acts of kindness promotes social wellness not only in the receiver, but the giver as well.
  • Avoid gloom and doom people (admit it, you know at least one who drives you crazy with their whining) and people who make you feel lousy about yourself. You deserve better.
  • Did you know that being productive can make you happier? Simple things like getting outside in the winter to shovel the snow; planting a garden in the spring, or making a pot of homemade soup can lower stress levels and give us a sense of well-being, according to researchers.

Sources:

Lyubomirsky, Sonja. The How of Happiness. 2007. Penguin Press. New York, NY.

Newman, Catherine. Want to be Happier? From Ladies’ Home Journal magazine. July 2011.

For further reading:

How can you improve your mental health and well-being in 2015?

 

What To Do and See In Chi-Town

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Ladies, Girls’s Only Week-Ends are an essential part of our mental health and wellbeing.

No matter what age we are, we need female bonding experiences!

In October, my sisters, niece and I celebrated our 10th annual girls’ week-end in the Windy City, AKA Chicago; home of the best deep dish pizza, Garret’s amazing popcorn, the Magnificient Mile, Navy Pier, the Cubs, and so much more.  My daughter lives there, and spending time with her made our visit extra-special!

If you’re planning an upcoming week-end for you and your girlfriends, Chicago is a wonderful place to do it.

When you’re there, here are some must-sees and must-dos: 

  • The Hancock signature lounge, located on the 95th floor of the Hancock Building.  Be sure to visit the ladies’ restroom for one of the best views of the City (I kid you not – you gotta pee in this restroom).
  • Garrett’s popcorn – there are several locations:  Navy Pier, Randolph Street, Water Tower Place, Ontario and Michigan . . . yummy caramel and cheese popcorn worth every penny $$ you spend on it.
  • Lou Malneti’s  –  for Chicago-style awesome deep dish pizza.  My sis and I shared a salad with the most delicious vinaigrette dressing I’ve ever had.  A corona beer and a square of Chicago pizza?  I was in heaven.
  • Macy’s on State Street, for 3 acres of shopping bliss. Check out some cool photos here.
  • Willis Tower’s Sky Deck ledge, for a great photo opp! (Hope you’re not afraid of heights!)
  • Chicago History museum on N. Clark – Take a walk through Chicago’s past.
  • Chicago B.L.U.E.S.bar on N. Halsted – We didn’t have time to visit this bar on this recent visit, but I’ve been there in the past.  It’s an unassuming place, but it offers some of the best blues you’ll ever hear, and showcases local artists.
  • Maggiano’s Italian Restaurant – the Chef actually came out of his kitchen and helped my sister (who is lactose intolerant) choose a great menu item for her enjoyment.

Now if you and your girlfriends are tough cookies and can handle the brisk Chicago winter winds, you may want to visit around the upcoming holidays  –  shopping on the Magnificent Mile, ice skating at Millenium Park, free concerts, and Christkindlmarket – just to name some of the fun!

Check it out at the Midwest Weekends site for more info, or the  Santa in Chicago site.

 

 

 

 

 

Family Fun and Social Wellness – They go Hand-in-Hand

Yesterday, my hubby and I went on a 5K walk/run with several members of my husband’s extended family. We participated in the annual Be the Match Walk/Fun Run sponsored by UAW-Ford, held at Stoney Creek Metropark, a county park in Michigan.

The Be the Match organization is run by the National Marrow Donor Program.®  This organization helps thousands of people suffering from blood cancers, by registering bone marrow donors. Bone marrow transplants save lives.

Three years ago, a bone marrow transplant (along with her own positive mental attitude) saved Bea’s sister-in-law, who had been diagnosed with Myelodysplasia (MDS). My sister-in-law’s bone marrow wasn’t working properly. It wasn’t producing enough healthy blood cells, and abnormal cells were showing up in her blood stream and/or bone marrow. So yesterday, we walked or ran to celebrate her “3rd” birthday and to give other people a chance to survive blood cancers.

It was a sunny, blue-sky day on Saturday. Thirteen of us made up Team Cathy – we ranged in age from 2 years to 60+. What was great about it? We spent time together, we exercised (good for our health), and we donated money to a great cause. Additionally, some of us (those in the 18 to 44 age range) were able to register to become marrow donors in the future.

We also enhanced our social wellness. We did this simply by being together, and showing support for the battle my sister-in-law fought for the last several years. We were a “support group” for the Be the Match organization. We laughed while we did the Zumba warm-up led by the walk’s organizers.

Why we need social wellness:

  • People with a good social network tend to add years to their lives (and life to their years)
  • People with good relationships tend to handle stress better, and have healthier hearts
  • People who nurture others tend to have stronger immune systems
  • People who have good family/friend relationships have better self-esteem. Laughing together with family and enjoying good times is a great mental health booster.

 

For further reading:

Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS)

July is Social Wellness Month

Dimensions of Wellness: Social Wellness

Be the Match – People’s Stories

 

 

 

 

Why do we need vacations?

 

Mr. Boomer was acting particularly goofy after work the other day. “What are you on?” Bea asked. “I’m on vacation,” he laughed. He’s been waiting for months for this 2-week shut-down at work. He gets to relax and still has time to work on his ‘Honey Do’ list. He’s able to clear his mind from the ‘politics’ at work, and when the vacation is over, he’s ready to go to work again.

On Memorial Day week-end, Bea went on her first tropical vacation, to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin islands. She and her daughter flew down and spent four glorious days tanning on the beach, sipping those all-inclusive drinks, frolicking with sea lions, and island-hopping. She felt carefree and stress-free. No worries!

It took Bea about 10 minutes to relax when the plane landed on the island; highly unusual for her, since winding down is not her strong suit. The relaxed feeling actually lasted for a week or more when she went back to work.

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We all need vacations – from the workplace, from the day-to-day routine of life, from cell phones and all those other electronic devices we’re glued to everyday. And there’s simply no reason to deny ourselves the pleasure of a vacation: there’s actual research that indicates why vacations are so important for our mental health and well-being.

This article, The Science behind Vacations, points out that “getting away from it all” can help people re-examine their life choices, and if they’ve been making bad choices, a vacation can supply them with a new, more positive perspective. The article also points out that researchers have concluded that vacations can help our physical health by reducing stress levels.

Getting out of our ruts and enjoying leisure time can give people a more positive outlook on life – You can read more about that idea at this article from the National Public Radio website.

But do we need any scientific reason to go on vacation? No way.  Researchers don’t have to convince Bea (or probably you for that matter) that vacations simply make our lives more satisfying and more fun.  We all need that.

For further reading:

Why your brain needs vacations

The importance of vacations to our physical and mental health