HEALTH: Mental Wellbeing Advice

This article is taken from a new “Healthy Living” leaflet/guide from Age UK that highlights lifestyle/behaviour changes you may like to consider and the benefits they can bring.

Download the Guide (pdf)

Mental wellbeing advice

Feeling well is not just about being physically fit and healthy: it’s equally important to your overall health that you feel good mentally. Mental health is sometimes called ‘mental wellbeing’, ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’. It means how you think and feel, and how you cope with life’s ups and downs. Your mental health is just as important as good physical health and there are several things that you can do to help support your own mental wellbeing.

Social contact
Meeting friends, enjoying hobbies and getting involved in the local community is fulfilling and helps us to feel good about ourselves and life in general. Spending time with other people can prevent you from feeling lonely or anxious and gives you a chance to share experiences, thoughts and ideas.

Do the things that you enjoy
Think about the things you enjoy and make time for them. All of us are different. Perhaps you enjoy cooking or laughing at re-runs of your favourite TV programmes. Or why not treat yourself to your favourite magazine or a good book? Whatever it is, think about what makes you feel good and try to set aside some time for it every week.

Stay in touch
If you have family and friends nearby, try to meet up with them regularly or ask them to call round. Otherwise, regular phone calls can help you to stay close. The internet has
opened up more ways to stay in contact and meet new people, such as exchanging emails, using online forums and using Skype to make video phone calls.

Make plans and stay active
Most of us look forward to retirement and having time to ourselves. But when it comes it can be hard to adjust to the loss of structure to your day and the purpose that working life gave you. Retirement doesn’t have to mean an end to keeping active and discovering new things. Setting yourself goals, however small, can give you a sense of achievement and motivation. Planning
days out or arranging activities for the week or month ahead will give you something to look forward to and keep you feeling positive.

If you’re feeling down for a while
Although no one feels 100 per cent happy all of the time, if you are feeling out of sorts and have any of the symptoms below for two weeks or more you may be suffering from depression. Depression is just as significant as any physical illness and is not an inevitable part of getting older. If you have any of the symptoms above, speak to your GP and explain how you’re feeling. Together you can then agree on what may be best for you. They may suggest talking treatments, which involve talking to someone who is specially trained to help you manage your thoughts and feelings and the effect they have on you.