Senior citizens, with lots of extra time suddenly on their hands, too often spend their leisure bemoaning the passage of time. They despair over the fact that they no longer have the physical well being, flexibility or even energy to do all the things they used to do. When they are not mourning the loss of their vitality they spend time looking sadly at their check book and thinking about how much larger the numbers in it used to be. The happy truth is that older doesn’t need to be the same thing as more boring. In fact keeping in mind these five senior tips for managing boredom, seniors can remember that life, all life, even life in senior city can be fun and enjoyable.
1. Recognize the things you can’t do or afford any more and let them go As we age there is no question that some activities that we once did easily now require more effort and that some activities we used to have to really work at are now beyond our capacity to do safely or to enjoy. Determining what those things are and when you need to stop doing them requires common sense, sometimes a doctor’s approval or disapproval and your own personal experience with each activity.
For each person the activities that begin to disappear off the schedule will surely be different. Skiing, white water rafting, singles tennis eventually will depart from everyone’s list of fun things to do, but for each person that time will be different. Before you get too bored with your senior status, a good senior tip is to give serious thought to what things you need to start limiting while holding on to those things you can still enjoy and do safely.
As a senior citizen you have also discovered perhaps that there are some activities that you just can’t afford any longer or at least not afford at the level to which you are accustomed Your fixed income may not permit the frequent travel you once enjoyed, the 3 nights of dining out a week may have to go and of course the trips to the casino may have to be trimmed considerably.
The point is, these changes come for everyone. Before drooping into boredom because you are suddenly a senior citizen and before starting to moan about how you can’t go anywhere or do anything anymore, a good senior tip is to make a realistic list of those things that you can’t do or afford any more and let them go gracefully.
2. Celebrate the many things you can do Before you become too bored thinking of all the things you have just said goodbye to, turn your mood around. A great senior tip for managing boredom is to immediately recognize that if you have just made a list of the things you can no longer do or afford, then everything else on the face of the earth is open game.
Truthfully there are some things you can’t afford or do any longer but there is likely a much longer list of what you can do. So you have a choice. You can sit and mope because you can’t hit the casino regularly like you used to or you can put that energy into locating activities out of which you can get lots of enjoyment without either the input of money or physical ability that you once possessed.
Use the alphabet as a tool. On a piece of lined paper write each letter of the alphabet on a separate line skipping several lines between each letter. Then alone or with your partner or a friend, fill in for each letter something that you like to do or would like to try doing that is inexpensive and within your physical reach. For example A might stand of getting in touch with Alumni friends on line or by phone. When you have completed the alphabet you will be amazed and possibly even feel challenged by how many things there are out there waiting for you to do.
3.Plan activities for tomorrow Don’t let your enthusiasm evaporate. While you are still thinking about this list of possible things to do that aren’t expensive or physically taxing, take the next step. Look at what your calendar looks like for tomorrow and if it is wide open and you feel the threat of boredom waiting for you, look at your list and pull out two or three activities or ideas of things you would like to do and write them on the calendar for tomorrow.
When you plan, you might want to write in the specific time you will want to try these activities. Having a schedule helps to organize your day. Knowing that you have several things you want to do tomorrow will send you to bed with a smile and with some anticipation of a perkier next day. One of the best senior tips for managing boredom is to plan ahead.
4. Actively seek people with whom to share your activities Another good senior tip for managing boredom is to include other people in your daily activities. Drawing other people into your daily life breaks up the monotony of doing things by yourself all the time.
For seniors, finding other people to share activities may mean checking in with other seniors in your neighborhood or apartment complex. It could mean seeking some activities in community settings like your church, civic group or senior citizen center. It doesn’t matter how you make your contacts, it’s just important that sometimes you do things with other people. It’s especially helpful if the people you share with occasionally are not drawn totally from the senior circle. Sharing activities with young singles, married folks, teens, even children can give your life a real jump start and push the doldrums far away.
Certainly leave time to do things that you like to do alone. Your privacy and your own need for quiet are still important . But if you want to reduce the likelihood of boredom a good senior tip for managing your boredom is to find a variety of people, seniors and others, to share activities .
5.Work hard at saying yes. Seniors who are experiencing boredom because they feel their horizons are closing in on them, can sometimes be their own worst enemies. Feeling a little down, they inadvertently add to their own malaise by responding to activity suggestions, phone calls and invitations for almost anything with the same despondent “No.” In fact many seniors say “no” frequently enough that it starts to become a reflex response.
A useful senior tip for managing boredom is to concentrate on saying “yes”, even when you are feeling down and really want to answer in the negative. Agreeing to go to a movie, take a walk or play a hand of whist may not seem like such a big deal. But if you have been consistently dealing yourself out of any type of socialization you are encouraging a good case of boredom.
Saying “yes” doesn’t mean always saying “yes”. There are some activities we just don’t like and shouldn’t feel obliged to go to. Trying to say “yes” means seeing each invitation individually and considering it as a helpful alternative to boredom. Saying ” yes” can open a world of opportunities and close the door on boredom.
As we age our world may seem to shrink noticeably. As seniors it’s important not to consider what used to be but rather to concentrate on the wonderful life we still have before us and to enjoy every moment.