Today's topic is staying young at heart. Namely, I'm gonna share 10 ways to go about it. But before I continue, what does it even mean to be young at heart?
Well, it means feeling hopeful, optimistic, energetic, and enthusiastic no matter how old you are. It's all about feeling young.
The truth is that attitude is more important than age.
You don't need to be young to feel young.
You can be young and stodgy. Or you can be old and lively. What matters most is your willingness to try something new.
So take a gander at the following examples and imagine yourself trying something new.
Do it for your creativity and vitality.
Do it for the fun of it.
Do it because you can. Damn it.
Move your body.
1. Get moving
Regular physical activity helps improve your overall health by improving your strength, coordination, flexibility, and balance.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be fit to get fit. You just need to move your butt.
Exercise is simply moving your body. Any purposeful activity you engage in that makes you move your body is exercise.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t kill yourself in a spinning class. Don’t count calories. Don’t do it for any other reason than to stay young at heart.
Choose activities you actually enjoy. And maintain a routine that you can stick to. The regularity of showing up for yourself creates its own momentum that helps you keep going.
And you get extra points for engaging with others (see number 3).
• Walking, hiking, running, biking, swimming
• Stretching, yoga, pilates
• Tai chi
2. Get out and connect with nature
Take your daily walk in a park. Watch a sunset. Gaze at the stars in the clear night sky. Rejoice at the sight of a rainbow.
We are part of nature. And appreciating nature is essential to our well-being.
Extra points for sitting down to sketch a flower in your journal. And for engaging with others by going camping.
• Walking in a park
• Hiking in the woods
Play and socialize.
3. Get friendly and meet more people
Your mental health is directly linked to your capacity for social connection. So get friendly.
I’m talking about real human-to-human connection here. And not the kind via your phone or computer screens. Sigh.
Get out of the house and go places just for social interaction. This includes your favorite coffee shops and bookstores. And having lunch with your friends.
But make it a point to make new acquaintances and friends. Take a look at groups or regular meetings in your local community.
• Join a book club
• Join a community garden
• Join a hiking club
• Join a neighborhood clean-up group
• Take an evening class at your community college
• Go to a concert in your neighborhood
• Go to events at your public library
• Go to events at your local church
4. Have fun by embracing your inner child
Don’t forget to add laughter to your day. Do your crazy little happy dance. Sing in the shower.
Think about all the stuff you used to love to do as a kid. Let yourself be silly.
Extra points for making completely useless stuff. And for being playful with others, of course.
• Play board games with your friends
• Keep a journal full of doodles
• Make model boats that don’t float
• Make a weird bowl out of clay
• Fly a kite with a kid
• Play dress-up while organizing your closet
Learn and grow.
5. Engage your brain
Get away from your screens and engage your lovely big brain to increase focus, concentration, and memory.
Try playing the following games.
• Jigsaw puzzles
• Crossword puzzles
• Brain games
6. Challenge yourself
If engaging your brain is the cake, then challenging yourself to try something new is the icing on top. It gets you out of doing the same old same old every day.
Challenge yourself to switch up your routines.
Meet your friends at a different restaurant than usual. Go to a different supermarket to buy your groceries. Try buying foods you don’t normally eat. Read a book in a genre you wouldn’t normally read.
• Try a different vacation spot
• Try going to the theater instead of the movies
• Try cooking with a new recipe
• Try reading a book on a new topic
• Try listening to a different radio station or podcast
• Try a different route for your daily walk
• Try learning a new craft, instrument, or language (see number 7)
7. Take a class
Of course, trying something new implies learning something new. This is where real growth happens. As in, new neural pathways in your brain and lots of self-discovery.
Take a class on something you’ve always been curious about.
And although you may want to learn something practical to fix something right away. Like an old desk that needs refinishing. It’s okay to pick something completely frivolous, too. Follow your curiosity.
Consider local workshops but also online courses. Go with whatever is easiest to incorporate into your daily life.
• Flower arranging
• Creative writing
• Tai chi
Share and show the way.
8. Work part-time
If your current job is part-time or if you’re retired, then consider working part-time. Why? Because of everything we’ve covered so far.
A part-time job in something that interests you will keep you physically and socially active. And it will also keep you mentally active by challenging you to try and learn new things.
Is there a cause you’re passionate about? Chances are your community has a non-profit dedicated to it. You can find part-time jobs with organizations as different as your local theater group, science museum, or The Humane Society.
If non-profits aren’t your thing, what about antique shops or thrift stores? Are you an artist or musician? There are groups locally that need part-time help.
And don’t forget about schools, libraries, and health centers. They’d all be glad to hire an experienced part-time employee for all kinds of tasks.
But you don’t have to be an employee, of course. You could be a volunteer instead.
Working a part-time job may be too much of a time commitment. So consider volunteering.
Think about the following places that need volunteers to help with events and special programs.
• Community centers
• Community colleges
• Health centers
• Animal shelters
• Local festivals
• Local art centers
• Makers groups
It may have never occurred to you that you could teach. But chances are you’ve got skills you can teach.
If you know how to do something well, you can teach it.
Think about your skill set. Is there anything you’d enjoy teaching? It could be academic, practical, or artistic.
• Do you speak another language?
• Do you play an instrument?
• Do you make art?
• Are you good at paper crafts?
• Are you good at gardening?
• Are you good at woodworking?
• Are you good at sewing, quilting, knitting, or crocheting?
• Are you good at car repairs, home maintenance, or other mechanical skills?
Next, see if you could join a group or volunteer for an organization where your skills are needed. Go back to the list from number 9.
You've got lots of choices when it comes to staying young at heart. My tip for you is to take a class. Why? Because it doesn't get much easier than that.
Ideally, you could start with some fun online classes to figure out what lights you up. And then follow up with an evening class at your community college to keep going. And of course, make new friends while you’re there. Smile.
Follow your curiosity:
Tip 1: Try stuff out
Be open and willing to try a variety of things before narrowing them down. What sparks your interest initially might be replaced by something else. Let yourself have fun exploring.
Tip 2: Be bad
If you’re learning something totally new, be willing to be horrible. Not knowing how to do things is part of the process. Let yourself be bad in the beginning and enjoy seeing yourself improve.
Tip 3: Invest in yourself
Be willing to invest your time and resources. Remember you’re boosting your optimism, energy, and enthusiasm. In other words, you’re investing in yourself and increasing your vitality.