5 Ways to Prioritize Your Mental Health as You Age
Aging is part of life but while many focus on their physical health, few understand the importance of mental health. Sure, physical health is important. You want to be able to keep up after your grandkids. Or even just be able to get around! And while physical health is vital, have you considered your mental health?
Your mental health can also deteriorate as you age, though it’s less talked about. For example, many people start to feel more anxious as they get older and begin to isolate themselves in those thoughts, which can cause more problems with mental health.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), people over the age of 55 years often experience one of these ailments:
- Cognitive impairment
- Bipolar Disorder
These mental health issues contribute to other physical and mental illnesses, growing more prominent as you get older. Therefore, it is crucial that you centralize your focus on your mental and physical health as you age.
There are many things that you can do and incorporate within your daily habits and lifestyle that will aid in lowering your risk of such mental conditions, help boost your confidence and make you feel better. Here are some of the most helpful and easy ways to prioritize your mental health as you get older.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE
Did you know that there are certain foods better for your mental health? The importance of a well-balanced and healthy diet is vital. It should be emphasized as you continue to grow older. For example, foods like fish, almonds, blueberries, and even the occasional glass of red wine help slow down your memory loss and cognitive decline.
Studies in integrative and functional medicine show that you can correctly identify the root cause of your chronic pain or illness with functional medicine doctors. One of the more common factors is what you eat. Integrative medicine utilizes more treatment of the problem when it arises rather than prevention. Therefore, a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential for preventing health problems in the future.
You have probably heard multiple times that keeping healthy includes exercise. Exercise is excellent for both your physical and your mental health. Physical exercise doesn’t have to be so challenging, either. Simply taking frequent walks every day or doing some cardiovascular activities such as riding a bike or aerobics can go a long way to helping you stay healthy.
SET A GOAL TO GET OUTSIDE
Spending time outdoors can help reduce your stress and anxiety. The act of changing your environment and bringing in natural light help boost your mood. Outdoor activities can also help to lessen any anxiety or depressive thoughts.
For example, if you enjoy sports like baseball, basketball, or soccer, look for senior-age groups with those activities that you can join. Have you heard of pickleball? It is an absolute craze and particularly popular among the 50+ crowd!
If you enjoy gardening, set the goal to spend a half-hour or more outside planting some flowers or performing some landscaping.
SOCIALIZE WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
We live in a world where technology has us sitting in front of a television or screen day and night. Unfortunately, the drain of watching a screen can create more problems with our mental health, so take the opportunity to plan something that gets you away and outside. Join a dance, painting, or cooking class if you have other hobbies, and give yourself a mental health boost.
Engaging in new activities allows you to make new friends. Socializing with your family and friends helps keep your mind more alert and active. In addition, interactive events help reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease since social isolation is a contributor. Think about taking a new creative writing class, volunteering somewhere to help others, or setting a weekly lunch date with a friend (or two!).
It can be so easy to get down or depressed as you get older and start noticing your health declining. Instead, prioritize looking on the bright side and be more active in locating all the positive things going on each day. Maybe you enjoy a nice cup of tea in the evenings, or a piece of chocolate, or want to try meditation. All of those little things deserve gratitude.
Sometimes, it helps to take a few minutes every morning to write down the things that you should be thankful for and find gratitude in the riches you have. Maybe you will see family soon for a cherished celebration or see some beautiful things in nature on your latest walk.
Whatever it is, make sure you take the time to enjoy the good and maybe write it down to refer to whenever you start to feel stressed or overwhelmed. It can help remind you that you have a lot of wonderful things in your life.
One last helpful way to prioritize your mental health as you age is to make sure to take time for yourself. Stand up to negative thoughts that you may have that bring you down, and combat them by recognizing when it happens and doing something different.
When you start to beat yourself up, interrupt those thoughts, and tell yourself something kind and uplifting.
Time is short, and it is precious. If you are stressed out because you have too much going on, cut back on things that are making you feel burned out. Knowing and recognizing what is triggering those thoughts will aid your mental health, and you need to acknowledge that so that you can remove those thoughts.
MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE
Life is challenging, and there is no denying that things become more difficult as we age. There is a significant tendency to remove yourself from situations and feel isolated and depressed. However, you are not meant to go through these things by yourself.
Reach out for support and get help to take care of your mental health. Maybe you just need to speak to someone about what is troubling you, or it could go deeper than that. You may need therapy or medication to help combat hormonal imbalances. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Ensure that you prioritize your mental health.
To sum it up, mental health and physical health are equally important. And the great news is, they both go hand in hand. Many things that are good for one, are beneficial for the other! It is my hope that you take these 5 tips to heart and mind and be well.
About the author: Nicole has been obsessed with beauty and fashion since she was a young girl, always flipping through Vogue and stealing her mother’s cosmetics bag to experiment. She’s a former wedding makeup artist who loves spending her free time trying new products and staying up to date on the latest beauty and style trends. While Nicole’s days are now spent contributing to fashion, beauty, and lifestyle sites from home while raising her kids, she can still always be found putting looks together, even if it’s just for a trip to the grocery store!
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