The importance of self-care: Nurturing our well-being as we age

International Self-Care Day, on 24 July each year, is an opportunity to raise the profile of self-care and its role in our overall health and well-being. As we age, it becomes increasingly important to prioritize self-care to maintain optimal physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Self-care isn't just a luxury but a necessity that allows older adults to lead happy and fulfilling lives. In this blog post, we explore its significance for older adults and four ways to incorporate more self-care into your daily routine.


Stay active and eat healthy

Caring for our bodies is crucial at any age and becomes even more essential as we age. Engaging in regular physical activity tailored to your abilities, such as walking, swimming, or gentle yoga, can boost cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and improve flexibility. In addition to exercise, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is essential for nourishing your body.


Keep your brain active

Keeping the mind active and engaged is vital for cognitive health. Engage in activities that challenge your brain, such as reading, solving puzzles or crosswords, learning a new skill or hobby, or engaging in stimulating conversations. Stay socially connected with friends, family, and community groups to foster mental well-being and combat feelings of isolation or loneliness. Embrace technology to connect with loved ones, join online communities, or access educational resources that pique your interest.


Get a good night’s sleep

Getting enough restful sleep is crucial for overall health and rejuvenation; however, research shows that the amount of sleep we get may decrease as we age, and the quality of that sleep may also change. While the amount of sleep a person needs each night will vary, getting adequate sleep is important to overall health. Try establishing a calming bedtime routine by incorporating things like gentle stretching to promote relaxation.


Nurture your interests and passions

Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment, whether pursuing a favourite hobby, listening to music, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness and meditation. Prioritize self-reflection and acknowledge and express your emotions.


Self-care is not age-specific; it is a lifelong journey that becomes increasingly vital as we age. These four strategies can help older adults cultivate a holistic approach to self-care. Embrace these practices, tailor them to your needs and abilities, and enjoy the transformative power of self-care in enhancing your overall well-being, enabling you to savour life's precious moments to the fullest. Remember, it is never too late to start taking care of yourself. 

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DISCLAIMER: These summaries are provided for informational purposes only. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professional. The summaries may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (

Many of our Blog Posts were written before the COVID-19 pandemic and thus do not necessarily reflect the latest public health recommendations. While the content of new and old blogs identify activities that support optimal aging, it is important to defer to the most current public health recommendations. Some of the activities suggested within these blogs may need to be modified or avoided altogether to comply with changing public health recommendations. To view the latest updates from the Public Health Agency of Canada, please visit their website.