By: Guest Author
Published: June 13, 2023
Written by Sarah Kaminski- Guest Contributor
One great thing we can thank the internet for is the de-stigmatization of mental health. Our mothers and grandmothers never had the opportunity to talk about how they feel, not like we do. They were never allowed to admit they were struggling, that they were depressed, that they needed help. And let’s not even talk about how women’s mental health was treated a couple of hundred years ago.
What Do The Stats Say?
Age UK and the NHS have done a survey a couple of years ago that has found that half of adults aged 55+ have experienced mental health issues. Depression and anxiety were listed as the most common conditions, and the death of a loved one, ill health and financial worries were most cited as their cause.
The mere fact that over 7 million adults have been able to correctly identify these issues is laudable. We now understand that retirement, career changes, the death of friends and spouses, and the overall grind that life demands can leave a significant toll on our mental health. These effects can get significantly worse as we get older.
What Does Compromised Mental Health Look Like?
The signs and symptoms your mental health is worsening can be varied. They may arise suddenly or they may keep building up over a longer period of time. They may be severe or they may be mild, consistent or intermittent.
Here is what you should watch out for:
● Feeling overly anxious or worried
● Racing negative thoughts and feelings
● Feeling sad or irritable for no apparent reason
● Mood swings
● Sleep issues, including both insomnia and a difficult to get out of bed
● Weight loss or gain and appetite changes
● Feelings of guilt
● Difficulty completing everyday tasks
● Feeling no joy in the things you once loved doing
What To Do If Your Mental Health Is Off?
If you are suffering from any of the above, or if you simply feel your mental health is not where it should be, start by talking to someone. There are numerous mental health resources available to you, and you can talk to someone over the phone or online about what is troubling you and how you are feeling.
How Can You Improve Your Mental Health?
There are also things you can do on an everyday basis that will improve your mental health, whether you are dealing with depression or anxiety, or just going through a rough patch. If you feel the crisis is too big to be dealt with slowly and steadily, make sure to first talk to a mental health professional.
Improve Your Sleep
The quality of your sleep directly impacts your mental health. When you don’t sleep well, your brain and body don’t have enough time to recover, and you will feel more irritable and irrational than usual.
Start by investing in a quality mattress without fiberglass that will be good for both your skin and your sleep. Find bedding that will keep your body at just the right temperature at night and ensure you don’t keep waking up cold or sweaty.
Find a New Hobby
Keeping your mind and body active is also a great way to boost your mental health. Doing a puzzle will also help you keep illnesses of the dementia variety at bay, while knitting can help you soothe the symptoms of arthritis and other joint issues.
You can do anything from baking to gardening, journaling to coloring. You can sign up for a class, or do something with your friend and family at home. You can even start a neighborhood club, which will have other mental health benefits as well.
Make Sure to Socialize
Loneliness and isolation are particularly detrimental to mental health, so you want to make sure you spend some time every day talking to people. Just a simple walk to the store and a chat in the cashier line can do wonders.
Make an effort to socialize especially when you are feeling down. Human touch can yank you out of it and help you feel more like yourself.
Also make sure to carefully choose who you want to spend time with when your mental health is suffering. Look for people who will fill you up, people who can make you smile and who you can have enjoyable conversations with. Don’t talk to people who will drain you or who will keep talking about themselves. Look for the good, kind listeners.
Mental health is a vital aspect of our everyday lives, both when we are in our teens and as we approach our golden years. Don’t make the mistake of purely prioritizing your physical health. You need to make sure you are feeling well in both mind and body to make the best of your twilight years.
Sarah is a life enjoyer, positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.
The views expressed herein this article, written by a guest contributor, do not necessarily represent those of the Red Hot Mamas organization. The content is for informational purposes and should not substitute the advice of your doctor.