An Aspect of Aging Well?
Alexander knew, “It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Nothing at all was right. Everything went wrong, right down to lima beans for supper and kissing on TV” (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day).
My week went that way. I pulled a muscle in my leg, so I’m not taking my walks, and everything is an effort. Things have not gone my way, and appliances don’t work right, but mainly, I’m blue - feeling sorry for myself - perhaps.
The author of the Perfectly on Time newsletter noted that there was a process after a loved one dies. She talked about the next five years, and in the third and fourth years, depression sets in. Dan went to the memory care facility three years ago - maybe that’s part of it. The finality of his not being here plays a role.
After his death, I decided to follow the dimensions of wellness - an approach that worked relatively well, so my grade card says. I’m healthy and have a good life, but something is missing. I am sad, have a hole in my heart, and lack of motivation, which was clearly evident this week.
Interestingly, I was talking with a friend about aging well. I will share our conversation with you later. But the highlight was an introduction to the term wellbeing - I did some research.
I found that
Wellness is a set of habits and behaviors; wellbeing is a state of mind. Naturally, the two go hand-in-hand: wellness contributes to wellbeing, and a sense of wellbeing often begets more wellness habits.
relates to intention, action, and activities
has a prominent physical dimension
is associated with healthy lifestyles and choices
relates to one’s perception of life
is associated with feelings of satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment
is helpful when measuring an individual’s welfare
There is wellness - being healthy, and wellbeing - being content.
Is it possible to have a robust wellness grade card but a low contentment grade? Oh Oh!
The CDC website says
There is no consensus around a single definition of wellbeing. Still, there is general agreement that, at a minimum, it includes the presence of positive emotions and moods (e.g., contentment, happiness), the absence of negative emotions (e.g., depression, anxiety), satisfaction with life, fulfillment, and positive functioning.
So, wellbeing could be an essential aspect of aging - maybe it’s like having a fundamental “okayness” with the self - and life.
Having a sense that everything is okay rather than being filled with anxiety, fear, and worries.
Feeling as if you are fine just as you are and don’t need to be or do more.
Reducing negative self-talk.
Increasing your focus on the present moment.
How is your sense of wellbeing? I’d say mine needs a shot in the arm.
These ideas are good reminders.
Avoid unnecessary stress by prioritizing and getting organized - learning to say no whenever feasible.
Alter the situation by asserting and resolving matters head-on instead of procrastinating or ignoring the issue.
Adapt to stressors by reframing problems and focusing on the positive aspects of life.
Accept that I can’t change certain things and turn stressful situations into learning experiences.
It’s true, in part, my lack of wellbeing is because there is no Dan, but it’s also because my body is aging, I’ve had to give up some control in my life, our country seems to be in turmoil, and it’s harder to do things - for me and by myself.
However, wellbeing appears to be a vital component of aging, so I need to focus on it as I do on wellness. On that note, I’m going out and getting myself lunch.
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If you want to contribute to my work, consider donating to the Alzheimer's Association. This link takes you to their website. The choice is yours.