As one year ends and another begins, it’s normal to reflect on how you have grown, learned, and spent your time over the past year. What were your goals? Were you fulfilled by your activities? How did you prioritize your time? In the coming year, you may have set goals for yourself. But are you prioritizing your mental health?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 6.5 million Americans over the age of 65 struggle with depression. So as you age, mental health and self-care must remain at the top of your priority list. That’s a lovely idea. But what are the steps you can start taking today to promote mental health in 2017 and from now on?
That’s why we’re here.
We’ve compiled a list of useful self-care tips for seniors.
Check it out and get started combating depression in Baton Rouge and boosting your mental health today.
- Get Going: As you get older, it may be more difficult to exercise at the same level you used to. But that’s okay. Just keep moving. Whether it’s a daily walk, senior exercise class, or routine chair exercises, regular physical activity has been shown to increase endorphin production and lead to significant improvement in depression symptoms.
- Stay Social: Whether it’s socializing at a senior center or routinely visiting with friends, staying connected with your peers can keep your mind alert, offer social stimulation, and help you cope with symptoms of anxiety or depression.
- Visit with Family: The same goes for family! Find ways to stay involved in family gatherings—but only to the degree you’re comfortable with. Keep the visits short if you’re feeling fatigued and let your family know you come as company, not a de facto babysitter.
- Turn to Technology: The constant stream of new technology can be overwhelming. But if you’re unable to visit with friends and family in person, scheduling regular phone calls and Skype dates can keep these relationships current and offer that same social stimulation. This book can help you enter the world of technology and the 24-hour online Skype help center can assist you in ironing out any problems and answering questions as they arise.
- Challenge Your Brain: Join a class! Do a puzzle! By engaging your brain daily in critical thinking and problem-solving, you can stimulate your mind. Studies have shown that seniors who regularly engage in social and intellectual activities are less likely to develop dementia. If travel is prohibitive, consider online classes or hosting a weekly card game with friends.
- Adopt a Pet: Adopting a pet can facilitate social interaction and routine exercise, but it can also create a sense of purpose in your everyday life. Your pet depends on you to feed, walk, and care for it. This dependency serves as a daily reminder of your own need to take care of yourself—body and mind.
- Seek Spiritual Connections: As you care for your body and mind, you may feel the need to connect with something deeper. Consider regularly attending church, joining a bible study, or seeking out a group meditation. Fostering this deeper connection can add intention to your daily routine.
- Volunteer Your Time: Once you have begun to nurture these internal connections, consider turning your intention outward. Support a local cause by volunteering your time. Whether it’s cleaning up your neighborhood park or volunteering as a museum docent or offering help remotely online, these opportunities will help add structure to your day, connect you with your community, and add meaning to your life.
- Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help: These tips encourage self-care and boost your mental health in a sustainable and effective way. But if you struggle with mental health issues—such as depression, anxiety, or dementia—don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. A psychiatrist can keep you on the right track for managing your mental health in the years to come. And if in-office consultations are not feasible, you may be eligible for telepsychiatric services in Baton Rouge.
Don’t wait for the new year to renew your resolve to care for your mental health. Give the mental health experts at Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge a call today. We’re dedicated to giving you the toolkit you need to manage your mental health care today.