A time full of joy, a season full of hope. There’s just something about spring that makes you want to celebrate.
After a long winter, we all expect warmer days ahead starting on March 20th – the vernal equinox. It’s no surprise that the first day of spring also marks the International Day of Happiness.
Proclaimed by The General Assembly of the United Nations in 2012, the International Day of Happiness is a way to recognise the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world. “It’s a day to recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings and the importance of their recognition in public policy”.
Join in this world-wide celebration with these senior-friendly spring activities that are sure to brighten your day.
7 Ways You Can Spring into Happiness
1. Take a Sun Break
After a long winter, spring is a time of rejuvenation, so make a point of stepping outside to soak up the sunshine. Go for a walk – or simply sit outside, appreciate the trees and flowers, and get some fresh air. After being cooped up indoors all winter, it will feel great!
Aside from feeling good, the sun has many healing elements. When you’re exposed to direct sunlight, you produce endorphins. Take a sun break once a day and let happiness shine upon you!
Other benefits of sunshine:
- Improves your sleep.
- Reduces stress and fights depression.
- Maintains strong bones.
- Helps keep the weight off.
- Strengthens the immune system.
For older adults who aren’t mobile, simply sitting by a sunny window is a comfortable way to soak up some rays. Colourful birds also appear when the weather starts to warm up – placing a window bird feeder near a large window allows them to bird-watch throughout the day.
As the weather warms up, residents who need support going outside can ask Health and Wellness staff about walking groups or 1-on-1 walks, like those offered at Sturgeon Creek 1 in Manitoba.
2. Engage in Some Armchair Travel
Preventing boredom in seniors is a great way to improve mood, reduce agitation and anxiety, and improve quality of life overall. But finding new activities during a pandemic can be a challenge.
We found a wonderful website called Explore.org that has live camera feeds from far-flung places… or close to home. You can watch bison in the grasslands of Saskatchewan, polar bears in Manitoba, horses in Kentucky, pandas in China, even beautiful sunsets in Hawaii.
The best part is that it’s completely free.
3. Put A Spring in Your Step with Decorations
It’s fun to mark the seasons with festive decorations and happy colours.
Pastel-coloured paper chain garlands can be hung around windows or doorways. Flower wreaths, painted eggs, or a spring-themed decoupage are cheerful decorations. Exercise your creative muscles to think of your own spring craft or join a group activity in your retirement community.
Résidences de la Gappe, the Phase 3 and 4 retirement home in Quebec, wellness staff launched a hat decoration contest in honour of spring. The residents got creative and had a lot of fun during their spring parade! You can click through pictures of the hats here.
4. Plant An Indoor Garden
Having plants around your home brings a little piece of nature indoors. Spring is a perfect time to start an herb garden, grow a trio of flowers, or get a miniature bonsai tree.
At the Seine River Retirement Residence in Winnipeg, MB, seniors will be raising butterflies indoors! The residence is located close to a protected forest where a volunteer has offered to go caterpillar “hunting”. Residents will experience the absolute joy of watching nature unfold before their eyes.
5. Freshen Up Your Diet
The change of seasons is a perfect time to rethink old eating habits and make a fresh start. Give your diet a once over, asking yourself how you might be padding it with unnecessary clutter like extra fat, sugar, or salt. Think about reducing refined starches and upping your intake of immune boosting superfoods.
6. Spring Clean Your Mind
Rather than putting the emphasis on spring cleaning your closet, why not clear out some of the muddle in your mind. It’s likely there’s a thought (or several) that has been keeping you stuck. Spend some time meditating to identify the negative thoughts that might be limiting you and commit to a mental spring cleaning.
The simplest way to rev up your mood is to set a positive intention for the day. For example, start your day with an affirmation:
“I embrace challenges as opportunities for growth; I roll with life’s changes.”
This simple mantra will jumpstart your day with vitality and a commitment to happiness. Making the conscious decision to choose happiness will begin your mental clearing process
7. Be Kind, Share, and Say Thank You
As we celebrate this time of renewal and happiness, there is one thing that works like magic: helping others. Research shows that perpetually kind people have 23% less cortisol (the stress hormone) and age more slowly than the average population! This may be because giving to others helps people to forget their own life’s’ aches and pains.
All Seniors Care
If you have a loved one living in one of our residences, give them the gift of happiness this March 20th. Help them stay motivated as they complete the vaccination process by giving them a call or doing a craft alongside them using Skype or Zoom.
Committed to maintaining an active and vibrant lifestyle, our retirement communities always have something on the social calendar. You can call All Seniors Care anytime to find out what is planned for the month at your parent or loved one’s specific residence.
Afterall, the real key to happiness at every age and stage — particularly old age — is not material things, but gratitude for life’s simple blessings, like laughter among friends or watching a sunset with a loved one. It’s the small things in life that end up mattering most of all.