These days, mental health has become more and more of a national conversation. While it isn’t always given the same importance as physical health, good mental health is an important part of a happy, healthy life. Even though you may not realize it, physical and mental health often affect one another.
Here are some tips that can help you stay mentally and physically well.
You have probably heard this many times, but it really is true. Exercise produces endorphins, which naturally lessen pain and stress. Plus, you don’t have to take up rigorous exercise to enjoy the benefits. Simple, gentle exercises can boost your mood and help you sleep better.
The best diet is usually a balanced one. Generally, eating different fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats like nuts and avocados, and whole grains is a good start. However, talk to your doctor for more specific recommendations.
It’s a myth—a popular one—that seniors need less sleep than other adults. Going to sleep at the same time each night and rising around the same time each morning is important. It can help you feel your best both physically and mentally.
Learning and puzzles are two things that help seniors keep the mind young. Crossword puzzles, word searches, sudoku, and other brain teasers stimulate your mind. Plus, studies show they even slow down memory loss in older adults.
Studies have shown that social connections are hugely helpful in fighting loneliness and other health problems. Staying involved and making plans with friends and family help you feel connected. Never underestimate the positive effect of supportive friends and family!
Untreated physical problems can cause mental problems. Seeking treatment for physical problems is important. However, it’s also important to speak to your doctor if you’re experiencing mental health problems. You wouldn’t let a broken leg heal on its own. Don’t skip treatment for an illness just because you can’t see it.
Sometimes, our problems are simply outside the scope of what help friends and family can give. Look to your community for additional support in the form of groups, programs, or meetings. Often, local organizations offer these services for free.
If you are in distress, are experiencing a mental health crisis, or are having suicidal thoughts, please don’t hesitate to call either 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You deserve to live a healthy life, both physically and mentally.