Health and wellness become an extra important matter as you reach your seniorhood. It will also become evident that a healthy physique alone does not equate to a healthy life. Overall health includes the mental, emotional, and psychological aspects of your being.

However, it’s easy to overlook this part of your health as it is not as concrete as your physical ones. Plus, there’s limited understanding and knowledge around.

This is why many seniors suffer from mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety. In fact, the CDC estimated that about 7 million of the senior population in the country suffers from depression each year. What’s worse is that most of these cases are unaddressed.

So as you retire and take up residence in your independent living community in Winston Salem, don’t forget to take care of your mental well-being. Celebrate Mental Health Awareness month by prioritizing your mental physique through these seven holistic ways.

1. Cope With Stress

Stress might not be a medically diagnosed illness, but it is closely linked to your mental health. When stress becomes overwhelming, it often causes mental breakdowns and the start of a mental disorder.

Stress may come unexpectedly and from the different aspects of your life. So, you need to learn how to deal with it proactively. This includes:

  • Learning stress management techniques that work for you. This includes mindfulness meditation and breathing techniques.
  • Dispute the negative thoughts that automatically go into your head during a stressful situation.
  • Learn to let go of things that you can’t control.
  • Engage in relaxing activities before a stressful situation. This includes taking a hot bath, listening to calm music, or sightseeing.

Moreover, it’s essential to understand that stress management is all about perspective. Change the things that you can and let go of those you cannot control. It may not be easy at first, but you can effectively manage your stressors and cope with stressful situations with practice.

2. Value Yourself

Treat yourself with the same respect and kindness that you show to other people. Learn how to appreciate yourself and be proud of the things you have. 

Self-respect can also be seen in how you treat your physical body. Take care of yourself by doing things that your body can benefit from, such as eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, staying active, and getting enough sleep.

A good physique and body system also contribute to healthy mental well-being. So, make sure to maximize the services and amenities in your independent living community in Winston-Salem to take care of your physical health.

Two senior women having lunch and looking at each other smiling

3. Be Surrounded With Good People

Seniors with strong and healthy relationships with their family and loved ones have an equally strong and healthy overall health. This is because good company makes for a great support network, which can positively impact your mental health.

Besides familial connections, it is also essential to maintain healthy relationships with your friends. Knowing that someone out there has got your back no matter what and values you as a person already makes life worth living.

Even with the pandemic, you can still connect virtually with the people you care most about. You can:

  • Use digital platforms to chat and schedule video calls.
  • Play an online game together.
  • Watch a movie together by sharing your screen.
  • Compile all your memories by making a scrapbook.
  • Cook their favorite meal and deliver it to them via delivery apps.

4. Live a Purposeful Life

Studies have shown that seniors with a sense of purpose in life have better chances of leading a happy and fulfilling life. Moreover, the study also pointed out that a sense of purpose helps prevent mild cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Finding your purpose is easier said than done, so don’t pressure yourself. You can start by doing meaningful activities, such as volunteering in a children’s hospital, charities, and in your own independent living community in Winston-Salem.

You can also try finding your purpose in pursuits that you think you would excel at. For example, you can revisit your childhood passion for writing or arts and crafts. You can pursue it again now and see if it ignites your creativity again.

5. Schedule a Quiet Time

Take a break from the norm and schedule a relaxing “me time” for yourself. Go to a place that you find relaxing or do an activity that allows you to relax your mind. Some things you can try include:

  • Pampering yourself by going to the salon or having a massage.
  • Hike and be connected with nature.
  • Bird watching and fishing
  • Writing or reading
  • Spending time with your loved ones
  • Plan a road trip

Doing things for your own pleasure gives the mind a rewarding feeling and a chance to be at peace. These activities may seem simple, but they have a huge positive impact on your mental health.

6. Don’t Hesitate to Talk About Your Feelings.

Mental health experts consider repressed emotions unhealthy because they often lead to psychological and physical symptoms. To keep your mental state healthy, you should learn how to open up and talk about your feelings and emotions. 

Find a trusted friend or family member to confide in during your stressful moments. Talk about the things that stress you out, your feelings, and your worries. You’d be surprised how light you will feel once you open up to someone.

7. Seek Help When You Need It

Nobody gets ashamed when they seek a doctor for their diabetes or heart problems. So why be embarrassed about getting help for your mental well-being?

If it ever gets too overwhelming up there in your mind, don’t hesitate to seek professional help with a psychologist or psychiatrist. Treatments work, and plenty of older adults have already recovered from their mental illness through early diagnosis and a combination of psychotherapy and medications.

Seeking help is a sign of strength, hope, and courage. Start living your life to the fullest in your independent living community in Winston-Salem by taking good care of your overall health, especially your mental well-being.