Letting Go of Stuff Day

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 36 – 3/25/15

According to the Gone-ta-pott website, the 4th week of March is National Clutter Awareness Week, and March 25th is Letting Go of Stuff day. (Looking for fun and weird holidays, many of which you didn’t even know existed? Look no further than Gone-ta-pott.) 

Bea is going to celebrate this holiday by de-cluttering her home office. (This may take more than a day, however). She’s a big believer in clearing out the clutter – a few years ago, she actually wrote a song about how clutter was driving her crazy!   Her house is relatively organized, but her office?  Not so much. 

Her computer desk and the area surrounding it are filled with manila folders, half-read books about health and wellness, research notes, scraps of paper with ideas scribbled on them (that’s what happens when you get an idea in the middle of the night and have to write it down somewhere!)  There’s a table in this room, covered with more books, papers that haven’t been filed in her filing cabinet, magazines, photos to be scanned . . . . oh yea, there are also cobwebs.  Bea only notices those when her hubby points them out.  

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It drives her crazy and clutters her mind – and with a cluttered mind, she can’t get anything accomplished.  It also seems like the older she gets, the more she wants to simplify her life – she notices that there’s a lot of stuff in her house that she doesn’t even use! 

Decluttering for vital aging?  Yes m’am. “They” say (the experts, that is) that organizing your space can also help your mood and your mental health.  Take a look at this article for some tips on how to declutter not only your personal space, but your mind as well.  (Life Organizers is a pretty cool site:  it provides a ton of organizing advice, tips, checklists, etc.  

 Some scientists state that clutter can negatively affect focus and concentration.

On the other hand, some argue that people with messy workspaces may simply be more creative than their neater neighbors.  

What about you?  Do you like to surround yourself with stuff, or do you prefer to de-clutter? 

 

 

Bea’s Aging Philosophy

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 35 – 3/23/15

I have a simple philosophy about aging:  

  • Do the best you can with what you have.
  • Be pro-active to maintain both your emotional, mental, and physical health.
  • Take responsibility for yourself.
  • Oh yea – have fun with it! 

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For me, the key is “growing old,” not simply “getting old.”  Like my oldest sister, who is 75, I call myself “age empowered.”   I hope to always feel this way. 

Now I know darn well that no matter how proactive I am about my health and wellness, there will be things that come up that will scare the hell out of me.  But I also believe that over the years, I’ve learned to become resilient.  I’ll do my best to bounce back from life’s curve-balls.

What about you?  What’s your attitude toward aging? 

Further reading about Aging and Attitude

Book: “Attitude is Everything. 10 Life-Changing Steps to Turning Attitude into Action.” (Keith Harrell)

This article describes 10 “thought distortions” that lead to negativity and provides some strategies that lead to positive thinking:  Positive Thinking for Healthy Aging

According to the American Psychological Association, people with a healthy attitude toward life just may live longer:  A Healthy Mind, a Longer Life

A person’s beliefs about aging (that is, whether or not they believe in those negative stereotypes) can affect both their physical and mental health: Older People Become What They Think

Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength. (Betty Friedan)

 

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

Good News for Friday!

Bea Boomer’s Vital Aging Project – Day 34 – 3/20/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:

Don’t know about you, but Bea gets tired of seeing bad news on television or on the Internet.  She has a tendency to yell at politicians when she sees them on the tv screen, causing her blood pressure to rise dangerously. She gets angry when she sees people being victimized by thugs and scammers.  She cries when she sees children getting killed by bullets being shot into their homes. 

So this week, in honor of spring springing, she decided to look for some good news – and guess what?  She found it.  

From the AARP Bulletin (March 2015) – Great news relating to Bea’s previous post about protecting your vision

  • New technologies, such as telescopic implants, for macular degeneration.  Contact lenses containing eye medication for glaucoma sufferers.  Injection therapy to help those of us with the wet form of macular degeneration.  

From the Good News Network:

Inspiration from the Philly.com website:

  • Centenarian Frieda Lefeber has her first solo art exhibition at Rosemont College in Pennsylvania.  She started taking art courses there in her 70s, and published her autobiography at age 88!  Read more about Ms. Lefeber and her philosophy about life in this article

And hey, the official start to spring is simply great news!  Life is good today.  

©Bea Boomers Wellness 2009-2015

 

What I’ve Learned from Loneliness

 

Young woman walking in lake

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 32 – 3/16/15

I do believe that friendship and other social relationships lead to vital aging; however, I’m one of those people who also needs some alone time. I learned about what it was like to be lonely as a child. However, in the long run, I also learned about the blessings of alone time. 

I was a solitary kid. It’s not that I didn’t have any friends – I was simply shy and introverted. I kept to myself more often than not.  I don’t remember having friends at my house when I was in elementary school.  My family situation was often stressful. My dad was an alcoholic, and that, along with other dynamics, didn’t make my house a welcoming place.    

I walked or rode my bike to our local library by myself – the library was my haven.  Losing myself in books was a relief and a pleasure. I also wrote a lot of stories and plays; I had quite an imagination in those days. 

As I got older, I broke out of my shell and developed typical teenaged friendships, and also met my two forever friends. Yet there were still times I felt achingly alone – never feeling like I quite “fit in.”   

I’m not looking for sympathy.  It’s what my life was.  While at the time, I didn’t find anything redeeming about loneliness, I realize now that it certainly didn’t scar me for life. Instead, it taught me some things: 

  • I don’t mind being silent at times.  I don’t always need to fill up space with words.  Sometimes it’s better just to listen. 
  • I learned how to be self-reliant.
  • I learned that there’s nothing wrong with eating alone at a restaurant.  
  • I’ve sometimes been lonelier in a group of people than I was being by myself.
  • I hate talking on the phone.  Get to the point and hang up, that’s my motto.  (Really?  That’s a lesson from loneliness?  Maybe not.  Could just be my old introverted self raising her head).  

Way back in 2011, I  wrote a post listing the five benefits I got out of solitude. This hasn’t changed over the years.   Because I’m  more at peace with myself than I’ve ever been, alone time has become more important than ever.  

What about you?  Do you enjoy solitude?  What benefits do you get from that time alone? 

 For additional reading: 

Bella DePaulo (Social Scientist, Blogger, Author and more) provides many links that lead to articles describing what experts have to say about solitude in her article titled. What’s Great about Solitude: Here’s What we Know 

I also enjoyed this article from the Greatist website, which talks about the Joy of Missing Out. 

Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone. (Paul Tillich)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

May I Have This Dance?

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 28 – 3/6/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:  

So I was on my way to work, listening to a new radio station (thank goodness for Sirius XM radio):  Alt Nation, since I’m trying to shake up my music tastes a bit.  And I heard this singer singing about some girl telling him:  “Shut up and dance with me,” and of course, he was talking about the new love of his life. 

But what I heard was life talking to me. Life wants us to dance – to get down, get funky, get your back up off the wall, get your groove on, baby.  (Sorry for the goofy metaphors: I came of age in the disco era).

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I haven’t been doing enough of that.  Have you?

How can we dance with life?    By taking a chance.  By facing our fears.  By trying something new. By doing what we would do if we knew we couldn’t fail. 

By taking part in something bigger than ourselves.

And even when life gives us a tune we don’t want to hear – one we can barely stand to dance to – we remain resilient.  We bounce back. We pull out that strength we know is inside of us.  

Dancin’ with life.  It’s what vital aging is all about. 

 

Insomnia: Sleep Thief

 

 

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Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 22 – 2/23/15

You know as well as Bea does that a lack of sleep simply sucks. During perimenopause, along with all those other fun things such as night sweats and hot flashes, insomnia reared its ugly head and made her life very, very unpleasant. Now menopausal (yikes), Bea still suffers from sleepless nights and they wreak havoc on the daylight hours. 

This lack of sleep makes her grumpy, fuzzy-brained and isn’t too good for her looks. There’s nothing more annoying than have one of her bright-eyed co-workers starting a conversation with “Boy, you look tired!”  Especially if that statement is made every day.

Bea knows she isn’t suffering alone – According to the researchers who study this stuff, at least 40% of Americans don’t get the 7 hours of quality sleep they need to function well (Aschwanden). Many of these insomnia sufferers are women.  (Can we create a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?  Maybe we should all get together and start the Middle of the Night Club, since misery loves company). 

For those of you who suffer with insomnia like Bea does, you already know that lack of sleep can lead to crabbiness, inability to focus/concentrate, forgetfulness, lack of energy, just to name a few annoyances.

Chronic insomnia, unfortunately, ends up causing more than just minor disturbances in our lives.

  • Lack of sleep can cause problems with the functioning of our brains. It affects our brain’s plasticity, by weakening our brain’s ability to make connections between brain cells.  This decreases our learning ability.  (Evans & Burghardt)
  • Lack of sleep makes us more susceptible to viruses and infections by weakening our immune system (Evans & Burghardt)
  • In many studies, sleep deprivation has been linked to memory loss and even Alzheimer’s disease (Aschwanden)
  • Lack of sleep has been linked to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and even earlier death.  
  • One very recent study has even shown that it can make our brain smaller. Now THAT sounds weird. You can read more in this article from the CNN website.

Bea has been trying to find things that will help her sleep better.  In her next post (Wednesday, February 25th) she’ll let you know what she’s found out – by the way, ladies, do you have any “sleep better” suggestions?  What’s worked for you? 

For Further Reading:

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep

Interested in visuals?

Check out this cool infographic to see what sleep deprivation does to our brain

Resources: 

Evans, S. PhD, & Burghardt, P., PhD. Brain Fit for Life A User’s Guide to Life Long Brain Health and Fitness. 2008. River Point Publications: Milan, MI

Aschwanden, Christie. Counting Sleep. Prevention Magazine November 2014. 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Try Meditation for Vital Aging

Bea Boomer’s Wellness Project – Day 20 – 2/18/15

 Asian woman meditating.

(1) Meditation may help us sleep better. At least 40% of Americans don’t get enough of the quality sleep they need to function well (Aschwanden).  Many of these insomnia sufferers are women.  Our insomnia is caused by hormonal changes we face in our lives, such as pregnancy and perimenopause.  Bea is one of those women, and she’s ready to try meditation to get her zzzzzz’s back! 

(2) Meditation relieves stress, and can help those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression. 

(3) Meditation provides other mental health benefits:  an increase in happiness, self-acceptance and awareness, concentration, focus and more – as found in this article from The Art of Living

(4) Meditation can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and even increase energy levels, just to name a few physical health benefits.  

(5) Meditation may help strengthen our aging brain by slowing down the loss of gray matter, as described in this article from the UCLA newsroom.

Source:

Aschwanden, Christie. (Nov 2014). Counting Sleep. Prevention Magazine.

For Further Reading: 

Want to try Guided Meditation?  Bea downloaded a guided meditation album onto her Ipod, but there are free options online as well:  

 UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center 

If you search YouTube, “guided meditations,” you’ll also find some good options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.medicaldaily.com/mental-health-benefits-meditation-itll-alter-your-brains-grey-matter-and-improve-319298

How to Build Self-Confidence for Vital Aging

 

Bea’s Wellness Project – Day 18 – 2/13/15

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Bea’s Buzz for Friday:  

How to create a habit of self-confidence

  • Listen to your self-talk – are you calling yourself derogatory names?  Do you kick yourself internally when you make a mistake?  Then ask yourself this question:  Would you call your best friend stupid, or refer to them as an idiot?  If you did, your friendship wouldn’t last.  You have to live with yourself every day.  You need to be your own best friend.  Make a concentrated effort to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Need some help? Listen to positive thinking CDs and read inspirational books. Do some research; find out what it takes to change bad habits.  It won’t be easy, but it will be well worth it. 
  • Create a mind-set of gratitude.  Every night, before bed, think about the things in your life that you’re thankful for. Think about your accomplishments. Focus on the things you did well that day. This is a good way to rid yourself of that negative self-talk.
  • Create success for yourself.  You can do that by accepting failure.  This means taking risks and working toward your goals, even though success isn’t guaranteed.  Those inevitable failures in life are valuable learning experiences.  A failure that results in a “ah-ha” moment is a stepping stone to success in reaching a goal.
  • Take care of yourself, physically and mentally.  Eating healthy food and having a regular exercise program will help you achieve a confidence in your body’s abilities; along with boosting your self-esteem.  To enhance your mental health, take steps to manage stress, get enough sleep, and socialize with friends and family.
  • When conversing with others, make a habit of active listening. We often worry about what others think about us, but when we get to know other people, we find out that they have the same fears.  Listening to others and helping them become more confident boosts our own self-confidence.
  • When facing a situation that makes you apprehensive, such as an important job interview, do your best to prepare and practice, by using online and other resources.  When facing a new situation in life, it helps to research and learn about that situation in order to help you handle uncertainties.
  • Stand up for yourself in an assertive way and hold onto your values. Attempting to live by other people’s values and beliefs, rather than your own, makes you doubt yourself.
  • Finally, stand tall, and walk with a purpose.  Wear clothes that make you feel and look good. When people compliment you, simply say “thank you,” with a smile.  Take time to compliment others.  Don’t take yourself too seriously; laugh at yourself.  Socialize with people who are positive, not those who drag you down. 

Building self-confidence isn’t something that will happen overnight.  But it’s a trait worth pursuing, because it can help us meet life’s challenges with a ‘can-do’ attitude. This is an important key to vital aging.   

  It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. (Attributed to Hanoch McCarty)

 

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. ~Anaïs Nin