You look forward to a carefree lifestyle when you get older. No more hectic schedules, cluttered households, and countless duties between work and family. Now you can relax and enjoy life in its simplest form, right? Not so fast. For those who are used to busy, full days, learning to simplify them can come with reservations, like the fear that an unencumbered way of living could bring boredom and lack of fulfillment. But paring down your lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up hope for a gratifying retirement. With some practical steps and adjustments to your routine, you can make the senior years easy-breezy, satisfying, and fun. Try these eight ideas and see:
De-clutter the Home
As time goes on, stuff piles up. In fact, you might be surprised at all the things you’ve collected and hoarded once you start looking. Even though it’s hard to let go of items from years past, you’ll feel a lighter load once you do. Set aside a day or two to de-clutter the home of nonessential clothing, books, and decor. It can be a productive way to reminisce about the past, do some necessary purging, and dispose of things you no longer need but someone else might.
Make Mealtime Easy
Planning and preparing meals can be a time-consuming effort, but there’s no reason to fuss over mealtime as an older adult. Simple breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are better for you anyway and a cinch to put together. Shop for healthy foods that require little preparation. Whole fruits, yogurt, pre-made soups and salads, lean meats for the grill, and fresh or frozen vegetables you can toss in the microwave are ideal choices that will benefit your body, please the palate, and make mealtime easy.
Drop Extra Services You No Longer Need
Ever get tired of paying for all the extra services you’ve signed up for over the years? Premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions, and memberships to organizations or clubs you hardly use add up and can weigh down the budget. They can also cause clutter and chaos in your daily living. Consider all the excesses you pay for that don’t enhance your life in any way and take action to let them go. You won’t miss a thing, except that monthly reminder to pay the bill.
Learn to Say No
A lifestyle deluged with tasks and commitments is stressful, especially during the senior stage. The good news is you don’t have to check everything off your to-do list–much less make one. You’ve earned the right to enjoy life your way, even if it means spending time doing nothing. Of course, learning to say no can take practice when you’re accustomed to saying yes. But adopting the habit will pay off in reduced stress and more time to do things you actually want to do.
Focus on Your Inner Circle
While socializing in general has important health benefits for older adults, having a small number of close friends can do wonders for mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. You’ll be able to build close bonds and focus on quality relationships that bring support, comfort, and meaning to life. That’s not to say you should weed out friends or avoid making new ones. But concentrating on your inner circle can bring the most happiness and fulfillment at this life stage.
Consider Transitioning to a Simpler Home
Leaving a longtime family residence is a tough decision to make, but it might be just what you need to simplify your life. Whether you choose to downsize, transition to a senior living community, or exchange owning for renting, the upkeep of your home can be greatly reduced and give you more time to focus on activities that bring you pleasure. Give the prospect of moving serious consideration; it could result in burden-free living and less stress as you age.
Get Tech Savvy
Technology isn’t for everyone, but it can sure help simplify life for senior adults–even by learning just a few basic skills. For example, video chatting via telehealth services can reduce in-person doctor visits. Online banking makes managing finances easy, quick, and hassle free. Smart phones and the internet keep seniors connected with loved ones. There are many convenient ways to learn technology, too, including from tech-savvy children and grandchildren.
Unload Your Aging Concerns
Worrying about all the changes that come with age can pack your mind with confusion and clutter. Avoid letting yourself go there. If you need to unload concerns, set aside a few minutes each day to do it with a willing listener or in a journal–and then move on. Be sure to address any serious worries with the appropriate people, whether it’s a medical professional, lawyer, or family member. Take care of your aging concerns when they arise, so they don’t create chaos for your lifestyle.
Growing older shouldn’t make life more complicated. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy satisfyingly simple days and see how fulfilling a lifestyle with less can be.