Enjoying a healthy and happy life is something we all strive for. However, our modern working lifestyles often allow bad habits to form when we’re pushed for time. As we retire and begin to enjoy a slower pace of life, we’re left with more time to look after ourselves. At Barchester, we’re dedicated to ensuring each and every one of our residents maintains a healthy and fulfilled lifestyle. But, what can you do? Many people take on ‘an old dog can’t learn new tricks’ approach and simply give up trying to change their negative lifestyle habits during their golden years. We, however, think utilising this new spare time can help you address three key happiness and health limiters!
Giving up stress to stay healthy during retirement
You’re no longer working. Your kids have grown up. Our retirement years are designed to leave stress in the past, but are you really achieving a stress-free lifestyle? When we take work, raising children and other serious responsibilities out of the equation, we’re more likely to have more time to socialise. But, are we socialising with the wrong people? So-called ‘toxic relationships’ can be seriously stress-inducing and happiness-draining. Gossiping, extreme negativity, excessive dependency and selfishness can cause our stress levels to soar. And we don’t need to keep highlighting how damaging stress is for our long-term health, being linked to heart disease and obesity. You’ve truly earned your golden years; don’t drown them with negative influences.
Reducing your intake of processed food
As we highlighted towards the beginning of this article, your retirement years finally leave you with more time to enjoy yourself. But with this comes the inability to blame your poor diet on a lack of time to prepare good quality food from scratch! The words ‘processed food’ often conjure up images of fast-food restaurants and ready meals. While these are prime examples of processed food, they are not the only definition. According to the NHS, processed food can be defined as ‘any food that has been altered from its natural state in some way, either for safety reasons or convenience’. This means that not all processed food is necessarily unhealthy, for instance tinned vegetables. However, salt, sugar and fat are often added to foods in order to improve shelf life, flavour or appearance, making them higher in calories. Use your retirement to enjoy a wider variety of dishes and fresh food. Start cooking from scratch and checking nutritional labels to make informed choices when buying non-fresh ingredients.
Most are well aware of the impact of smoking on our health. Smoking causes a whopping 84% of deaths from lung cancer, increases the risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, blood clots and numerous other health issues and cancer types. Crucially for older people, smoking also causes bones to weaken and become brittle. Many believe, especially after having tried unsuccessfully many times before, that it’s too late to attempt to give up smoking during retirement. But, it’s never too late to start improving your health! Just 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide in your bloodstream returns to a normal level. And, after two weeks to 3 months of being smoke-free, your risk of a heart attack will start to reduce, while your lung function begins to improve.
These are three of the most important bad habits to kick during retirement, but we’re sure they’re many more if you really get thinking! Why not make this year ‘the year’ you finally put your health first?