Aging Gracefully: Transforming Your Environment for Well-being

Aging Gracefully: Transforming Your Environment for Well-beingOur environment plays a role in our mental health and aging gracefully. Here are some ways to enhance our well-being later in life.

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”  – The Buddha

As a bestselling wellness expert, I often share what we can do that will keep our bodies healthy as we get older. 

What life continues to teach me is– regardless of age – your environment greatly impacts your mental health and well-being in general. And the earlier we realize this, the happier we will be.

For the slightest impact I can make, let me share some reasons and ways in which I (you too can) transform my home for the betterment of my well-being.

How Adapting the Environment Enhances Your Well-Being

1. Lighting

Light is the oldest indicator of when to go to bed and when to wake up. The sun, in a way, dictates how much sleep we get. 

As such, it’s important that you maximize ventilation and natural light in your home or workplace. Exposure to natural light will regulate your circadian rhythm and improve your mood.

Here are some tips I use that you, too, can find useful:

  • Use bright lighting. This helps ‘lighten’ your mood and improve your concentration.
  • Distribute the light evenly. There’s something off about switching rooms with different types of lighting. It doesn’t have to be the same, but there should be some even distribution. You can use wall lights for rooms without windows.
  • Have a lamp next to your bedside in the bedroom next to a chair in the living room. This is for when you want to work or read and someone else wants to Netflix in the dark.
  • Lastly, use energy-efficient LED bulbs if possible. Your electricity bill will thank you and give you a brighter, long-lasting source.

Effect these changes, and you’ll be surprised at how much lighting can impact your behavior and motivation to act.

2. ‘Me’ Time

My home is no longer just a house. It’s a haven.

I invested in my home so that it reflects my passions and interests. I have a home library that doubles as my office. There’s a massage chair for late nights when I don’t want to go out. But my favorite is the steam room, where I detox, relieve stress, meditate and rejuvenate my skin.

If you want to start doing yoga, get a mat and, if possible, set up a small corner you can dedicate to your practice. If you wish you spent more time outside, set up a small outside nook where you can relax and listen to the birds. Whatever you are into, carve out time for yourself to prioritize it. The goal is to relax, rejuvenate, and do what you want to do.

3. Green Living 

A study by the Journal of Physiological Anthropology revealed that having plants in your home or office will make you feel more comfortable, soothed, and less stressed. 

Not only are live plants a beautiful way to bring in some fresh, living, green energy, they can benefit your life in many other ways:  

    • Increase productivity and creativity: The University of Exeter found that in offices decorated with live plants, productivity increased 38% and creativity increased by 45%.
  • Boost your mood: Other studies have shown that plants are great for elevating mood levels, with the study cited above showing overall well-being increasing by 47%.
  • Improve your memory: The Journal of Environmental Horticulture article found that plants are great for enhancing one’s memory.

4. Safety and Accessibility

When it comes to your well-being, a good environment always wins. You can either resist it or adapt. That’s why leaves change color in fall. 

It is important to recognize when we may need to shift our environment to keep up with our body’s capabilities – especially if we’re recovering from an accident or surgery. 

As my parents got older, I followed a practice known as “aging in place.” This is because much of the research shows that many older adults would like to remain in their own home and the community they’re used to for as long as possible.  It helps them manage their lives more easily, stay connected, and feel comfortable, safey and happy. 

However, as their ability to get around becomes more difficult, safety is a primary concern. Enter aging in place! By adapting their home, I was able to ensure that it was safe and everything was easily accessible. I installed non-slip surfaces, ramps, and lift aids as needed. I made sure there was adequate lighting in the hallways and staircases to prevent accidents.

If you or your parents are experiencing diminished mobility,  I advise you to look into aging in place tools. I will certainly do the same for myself. 

Who Surrounds You?

Aging Gracefully: Transforming Your Environment for Well-beingWe often forget that our environment isn’t just what surrounds us but also who surrounds us.

To grow into the person you want to be, it’s wise to surround yourself with people who demonstrate qualities you wish to foster.

If I were sweet 16 again, I’d hang out with people who would teach me new skills, educate me on new things, cheer me on, and, more importantly, who would uplift and support me in my dreams.

Don’t make the Faustian bargain. Befriend people who will hold you accountable. Those who will tell you things as they are. Doing this will dramatically improve your moods and chances for success.

Your Environment, Your Well-being

Your environment should be a reflection of your personality. It is a canvas upon which we paint our dreams, aspirations, and memories.

Leaving a relationship, changing jobs, and moving to a new location are substantial moves to enhancing our well-being. But it starts with the small things: the lighting in our home, the people we hang out with, what we do on a daily basis.

Let’s make our environment a place where we connect, celebrate, and create the stories that define us. 

Remember, happiness is essential, mental health is a priority, and self-care is a necessity.

Get More Tips To Age Gracefully and Improve Well-being

If you want to improve your life in a range of ways, I encourage you to explore the therapist recommended program The Tweak a Week Online Course –  which helps people to make small, positive changes in their habits that lead to big results.

Think happier. Think calmer.

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