Mental health refers to a person’s psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It is the state of your own mind, whether or not it “feels” well and good. Having a healthy mental well-being means either or all of these three things:
- A person that functions well and serves his/her purpose in the society, workforce, and social circle.
- An individual that sees and uses their full potential.
- Can handle and manage anything that life throws at them.
Despite countless efforts to spread awareness, mental health remains to be misunderstood and stereotyped by many.
Mental illness does not elicit the same sense of urgency as that of a physical ailment. It is often judged and minimized to a “negative feeling,” which can be solved by having a “positive” outlook in life.
Despite the stigma, it is crucial to work hard towards achieving good and stable mental health. It should be a priority no matter where you are in life—young adult or senior.
In fact, studies suggest that seniors are more prone to develop mental-related illnesses, especially during the retirement years. It is also much more complicated to diagnose and treat, as it usually goes with several other medical conditions.
So, here are important mental health tips to help keep your mind fit and healthy.
1. Get Medical Attention
The first step in staying on top of your mental health is to seek professional help at the first sign of a psychological problem.
Thousands of mentally ill people neglect mental healthcare because of the stigma and inaccessibility of such medical services.
Moreover, there is a negative perception when it comes to seeing a therapist, forcing people to skip professional help and just deal with it on their own.
Take good care of your mental well-being by knowing when to seek medical attention. Seniors also go through difficult life transitions that can sometimes become too much to handle. Learn when is the time to seek and accept the help that you need.
2. Be Active
Working out and having a regular exercise routine not only benefits your physique but also improves your mental health. It serves as a natural antidepressant to your body but without the side effects.
It does not have to be a vigorous gym workout. Ten to twenty minutes of simple, low-impact exercises each day can already do wonders for your overall health. Some of its benefits include:
- Stimulates the release of happy hormones called endorphins.
- Increases energy
- Improves your mood
- Helps you sleep better at night
- Good cognitive performance
- Reduces the risk of developing mental illnesses like depression and anxiety disorder
Above all, exercising brings about a sense of achievement in one’s self. It can also improve your self-confidence and boost your self-esteem.
3. Manage Stress
Stress has a knack of sticking like glue into everybody’s lives, making it harder than it already is. It is impossible to live a life free from stress.
However, what you can do is choose the things that are worth stressing about, and to let go of situations beyond your control. Do not let everything get into your head and disrupt your peace.
Find a way to manage life’s stresses and keep it from overpowering your mind by doing simple things like:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Yoga, tai-chi, and other relaxing exercises
- Organizing and breaking tasks into smaller, less intimidating pieces
- Stay away from unnecessary stresses (e.g., worst-case scenario thinking)
- Spend time with your family and friends
- Have a “me” time
- Talk to a psychologist
Accept that stress will always be a part of your life, but you should not let it consume you and affect your health. Learn to rise above it.
4. Stay Socially Connected
One of the leading causes of mental disorders in elderlies is social isolation and loneliness.
These intense feelings can creep up on older adults during major life changes like the death of a loved one, moving to an unfamiliar place, being diagnosed with a severe medical condition, or transitioning to an assisted facility.
These situations can be challenging for seniors, causing them to neglect social connections and surrender to loneliness. If not addressed, it can lead to something more serious, like a major depressive disorder.
When faced with such circumstances, it is better to connect and open up with a loved one. Here are some mental health tips you can do to stay socially connected.
- Scheduling regular phone calls with grandkids
- Video calling with friends
- Join social groups and clubs
- Volunteer at your preferred charities
- Enroll in classes
Despite your age, it is never too late to discover and form lasting relationships or strengthen an existing one.
5. Get Enough Zs
Getting enough sleep and rest, especially now that you have reached your golden years, is vital now more than ever.
Sleeping has an impact on the body as eating and drinking does. Without it, the body eventually fails and causes various mental health problems.
So, make sure to get at least seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Stick to a regular sleeping routine and fix your body clock to achieve the desired number of sleeping hours.
6. Do Things That You Enjoy
The last but most essential piece of mental health tips—pursue things that make you happy and content.
It is high time to start enjoying everything that life has to offer. Make the most out of your good years by discovering new things to enjoy and pursuing previously postponed hobbies.
It can be as mundane as reading a favorite book or as exciting as painting on a new canvas. It does not matter how bad you are at it; what matters most are the positive feelings these specific activities create.
Some activities that you can try include:
- Creating a personal blog or journal
- Binge-watching a Netflix series
- Visiting a long-time friend
- Walking around the park (with your dog!)
- Taking a hike to see the sunrise
- Going on a beach trip
Enjoyable hobbies and activities are an excellent way to ease feelings of loneliness and anxiousness. It helps reduce stress and contributes to an overall positive perspective.