A new year is here, and there’s no better time to commit to becoming a happier, healthier you.
Most resolutions are the same: eat healthier, lose weight, go to the gym more often, etc. For a few people, progress is made, and real change occurs.
But the reality is that most people will have given up on their goal by Valentine’s Day.
Instead of more of the same, make 2021 a year of self-discovery and new experiences by investing in your personal growth. Here are three investments to make yourself – and in turn, your health – a priority this year.
Pick Up a New Hobby
Adults who engage in hobbies enjoy better psychological and physical function, too. Commit to trying out a new hobby or learning a new skill in 2021. Is there a specific instrument you have always wanted to play? Or maybe you want to learn embroidery. The possibilities are endless!
Many municipalities offer free or low-cost courses at the community center. Check with your city or town to if this is something they do. Some local hobby stores may offer classes, too. For example, if you want to learn to quilt, call your local quilting shop. They likely host classes for beginners in their store.
If venturing out of the house isn’t an option, the internet brings learning directly to you.
- YouTube: YouTube is a free video streaming service. Like the Google Search feature, you can use YouTube’s search function to look up specific videos. Let’s say you want to learn how to oil paint. By typing in “beginners guide to oil painting” in the search bar on YouTube, many free videos are available to explain the basics and get you started.
- Udemy: Udemy is an online learning platform with over 130,000 courses and 35 million students. You can pick a class that interests you, find an instructor you like, and learn at your own pace. Unlike YouTube, Udemy courses are individually priced, but the courses are more extensive and in-depth. For example, maybe you are interested in cake decorating. Here are the Cake Decorating courses available on Udemy.
- Duolingo: Ready to start learning a new language? Check out Duolingo. It’s free to use, although they do offer a premium option as well.
Read More Books
Seniors who read discover much more than just a good story. Studies have found many benefits of reading for older adults, including reduced stress levels and better memory skills. There are books available for every interest and consider joining a book club if you need help getting started. Many local libraries have book clubs you can join. But if online is more your style, AARP has a terrific list of online book clubs where you can join the discussion or even quietly explore superb book recommendations.
Need some help deciding what to read next? Check out Goodreads, the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. When you sign up for a free account, you can list different titles and genres you previously enjoyed. Goodreads will then provide you with unique suggestions on what to read next.
Volunteer Your Time
Studies show that seniors who volunteer enjoy various health benefits, including longer lives, fewer symptoms of depression, and higher levels of well-being.
There are dozens of opportunities to get active in your community. However, here are some volunteer options you may not have considered:
- Become a Hospice Volunteer: If you have a hospice agency nearby, consider becoming a hospice volunteer. Hospice volunteers are so important that Medicare regulations require hospices to offer trained volunteers for patients and their families. Hospice volunteers are as diverse as the patients they serve. They use their time and talents in many ways, including visiting patients, running errands, playing a patient’s favorite tune, or even helping with clerical tasks. To find out more about becoming a hospice volunteer for Intrepid USA, fill out the interest form.
- AmeriCorps Seniors: AmeriCorps Seniors (formally known as SeniorCorps) is a network of national service programs for Americans 55 years and older. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers commit their time to address critical community needs, including elderly care, disaster relief support, and more. A hallmark of this organization is the Foster Grandparents program, which allows seniors to mentor and tutor young people and children. You can search for volunteer opportunities with AmeriCorps Seniors in your area here.
- Canine Companions for Independence: Canine Companions for Independence is the largest provider of assistance dogs in the country. They connect expertly trained dogs to people with disabilities, free of charge. Volunteers help raise a puppy from eight weeks to 18 months and are responsible for attending puppy classes, teaching basic commands, and socializing the puppy. If that’s too big a commitment, you can also volunteer to help organize events, walk dogs, assist with office work, and more. For more information on how you can get involved with Canine Companions for Independence, visit this link.
- Meals on Wheels: Through a network of 5,000 local programs dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger, Meals on Wheels operates in nearly every community in America. Volunteers help deliver meals and friendly greetings to homebound seniors. Often, a Meals on Wheels volunteer is the only person an isolated, homebound senior will see. As the number of seniors continues to grow, so does the need for volunteers. To learn more about volunteering with Meals on Wheels, visit this site.
When you invest in yourself with new experiences, you are bound to see an increase in happiness – and, in turn, your health. Make personal growth a priority in 2021.