When thinking about senior health, diet and exercise usually top the list every time. But I am here to tell you that there is a mental health component that is just as important, and if you don’t have one – you don’t have the other.
Self-care has been defined as any action we take deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
It is reported that 20% of seniors report some type of mental health concern, the most common are of anxiety and depression.
Here are a few activities to get you going, and of course do what makes you happy!
Spend time in nature with a friend
It is scientifically proven that spending time in nature and immersing yourself in the outdoors has a calming effect on your mind. Nature is the perfect place for self-care, especially if you can recruit a good friend or family member. Now remember- it doesn’t have to be a 20km hike this side of Mount Everest. It can be something as simple as sitting under the tree across the street or strolling down through the grass in the field feeling the wind beneath your wings.
Start a gratitude journal
Practicing gratitude is like practicing anything else, the more you do it the better you get at it. The better you get at it, it seems like there is more to be grateful for. Once again, improving your mental health and by trying something new and forcing your brain to think in a new way, may help to declutter some of the spider webs that could have possibly accumulated up there in the meantime. Gratitude is proven to help people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
Organize a weekly phone call with a friend or loved one
Having that commitment can give you something nice to look forward to, and help the feeling of connection. Battling isolation and loneliness are not easy tasks and having strategies that help are always a good idea. Making it more official and scheduling it as you would another appointment proves to be quite helpful in keeping normalcy, and it’s always a good idea to have check ins!
Start or join a book club
Some people have said book clubs are a thing of the past now with technology, but it’s quite the contrary. People are finding themselves going back to basic things that worked. However, book clubs online have also become a “thing” so if that is your niche then you are in luck. There are great book clubs that still meet face to face or even do phone ins during the time of isolation. Reading provides great mental stimulation, and imagination. Many colleges offer special book clubs for seniors that are moderated by professors.
So get busy and get happy!
A weekly feature for Lumby, Cherryville, and area seniors. For more information about any of the following please contact Colleen or Jenny at (250) 547-8866 Whitevalley Community Resource Centre Office (250) 547-8866, Saddle Mountain Drop In (778) 930-0509. Funding support provided by the Province of British Columbia (Community Gaming), Interior Health and United Way North Okanagan Columbia Shuswap.