Learning to Bounce Back

Illustration of a senior lady with a bird resting on her outstretched hand

“Into every life a little rain must fall,” but some days can feel more like a monsoon than a sprinkle. For many seniors, bouncing back from health issues, adversity, stress, and tragedy can seem impossible. The good news is that we build resiliency by engaging simple every day building blocks again and again.

Start to improve your bounce-back ability today by engaging in these simple daily practices.

Set your eyes on the future and make a plan. It doesn’t need to be costly or dramatic; the key is to follow through. Whether you decide to finally visit Alaska, try the new donut shop in town, or complete a 500-piece puzzle, making a plan and following through helps regenerate joy, purpose and satisfaction.

When you move, your body generates mood-boosting chemicals, so be intentional about engaging in gentle physical activity every day. When sadness hits, staying in bed or zone out in front of the TV can be tempting. But putting a little bounce in your step might help to put a little bounce back into your step.

A strong support system can help you stand firm when the ground is shaking. Surrounding yourself with good people requires being proactive, but you won’t need to look far. You’ll find folks who are looking for the same thing you are when you move into a senior living community, drop in at your local seniors centre, volunteer at a thrift store, or even visit your local library.

If things are going wrong, focus on what is right. Keeping a list of things you are grateful for engages your brain in the exercise of looking outside your circumstances. Whether you write down your thanks, say them outloud, share them with a friend, or simply meditate on them, you build resilience in the midst of difficult times.

Bottling up your thoughts and feelings makes everything feel heavier. Resilience grows when you have a safe space to express yourself and feel heard and supported. Don’t be afraid to connect with a professional—counsellors, therapists and coaches specialize in listening and helping you move forward.

There’s no way to get around it; strengthening your ability to bounce back requires being proactive. Taking simple steps to cultivate resilience will ensure you have the shelter you need when the rain starts to fall.

This article first appeared in the Senior Living Expert monthly e-newsletter. Subscribe and receive more helpful articles like this in your inbox each month.