Do you eagerly count down the days until your birthday or do you hope that your family and friends will forget the date? Some adults hold onto their childhood enthusiasm. Others feel more anxiety than excitement at the thought of turning another year older.
There can be many reasons for your individual reaction, but these two are very common. You may be uncomfortable about aging or you may feel dissatisfied with your life so far.
Changing your mindset can make birthdays more comfortable. Try these tips for beating the birthday blues.
Thinking Positive About Aging:
- Live mindfully. Your mental and physical abilities change with age. However, there are gains as well as losses. Research shows that seniors often enjoy greater happiness and increases in certain skills, including resolving conflicts and managing emotions. It’s important to appreciate the moment.
- Stay connected. Relationships play a big role in healthy aging. Build a strong network of support. Spend time with family and friends. Ask for help when you need it.
- Continue learning. Give your brain a daily workout. Read books and take courses online. Visit local science museums and historical sites.
- Eat healthy. Most seniors need nutrient-dense food to get the energy they need without putting on weight. Consume a variety of whole foods including at least 7 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity can slow down the natural loss of muscle and bone mass. Train for strength, flexibility, and a healthy heart.
- Sleep well. You still need 7 to 8 hours of sleep as you grow older, but it may be more difficult to achieve. Try going to bed and waking up earlier. Experiment with taking naps during the day.
- Make adaptations. Simple changes in your lifestyle and environment can help you cope with aging. For example, you can help prevent falls by installing safety bars in your shower and ensuring that area rugs are fastened down securely.
- See your doctor. How can you tell when a symptom is a natural part of aging or a medical condition that needs to be treated? Get annual checkups and recommended screenings. Write down questions that you want to discuss with your physician.
Accepting Yourself as You Are:
- Resist comparisons. Birthdays can make us more sensitive to disappointments. Stay off social media if it makes you feel like you’re missing out. Pursue your own definition of success instead of trying to measure up to external expectations.
- Know your strengths. Recognize your talents and skills. Remember the accomplishments that give you a sense of satisfaction. Look for ways to use your strengths in daily life.
- Repeat affirmations. Silence your inner critic and give yourself a pep talk. Write some special affirmations to use for your birthday. You might tell yourself that you grow wiser and more beautiful with each passing year.
- Show compassion. Treat yourself with compassion on your birthday and throughout the year. Let go of judgements and forgive yourself for past events. Be extra gentle with yourself if you need a boost. Celebrate your birthday with a yoga class or a spa day.
- Give generously. Helping others is a quick way to feel happier with yourself. Spend your birthday doing volunteer work or checking on an elderly or disabled neighbor who is struggling with their errands or yard work.
- Set goals. Motivate yourself with specific and meaningful goals. You might want to start practicing one positive habit each year in honor of your birthday.
You can conquer the birthday blues. Focus on the positive aspects of aging and take pride in being your unique self. You’ll have happier birthdays, whether that means throwing a big party or enjoying your own personal rituals.