Mental health has become more prevalent across the media in recent years and it seems that we’re now putting as much emphasis on keeping a healthy mind as we are a healthy body.
As we get older, looking after your mental wellbeing is all the more important, with many worrying about retirement, especially if you don’t have a plan in place — despite this, a study from the mental health foundation estimates that over 85% of those in later life who suffer from depression, don’t receive any help from the NHS.
As a part of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, we’ve investigated some of the top tips for keeping your mind active and clear so that you can enjoy retirement with a healthy mind and body.
If you’re not yet retired or you’ve just stepped off the work train, then we couldn’t emphasise more the need to plan ahead. Stress is one of the biggest factors of mental health issues and going from a busy work schedule to retirement is often a source of stress for many. These are some of the best years of your life coming up though so why stress? Set a day aside and start making a list of what you’re looking forward to over the coming years, maybe it’s heading on that holiday you’ve always dreamt of, spending more time with the grandchildren, taking up a new hobby or just reading more — if you have a plan then you’re sure to stress less.
The rise in awareness of mental wellbeing has brought with it a surge in mindfulness or meditation classes, apps and books. There’s no need to subscribe to a specific religion to take up mindfulness, it’s simply the act of becoming more aware of your present self, often through the use of a guided app or video that focuses on breathing techniques. Although you may feel a bit odd at first, the benefits of spending 5-10 minutes a day meditating is widely thought to improve your health and many high-profile figures are known to have practiced including Oprah Winfrey, Richard Gere and the late Steve Jobs.
We often discuss the benefits of keeping an active social life and here at Inspired it’s something that we’re particularly passionate about, that’s the reason all of our villages have a social hub at their heart. But it’s not just fine-dining and the weekly quiz night — many of our residents continue to work or volunteer in some capacity and there have been multiple studies that highlight how socialising and/or working can help improve health and a long lifespan.
Learn Something New
We’re never too old to learn something new and a great way to maintain a strong healthy mind is to keep it ticking over with new knowledge and experiences. Many of us are now looking at heading back to the lecture halls or even heading there for the first time and signing up to study a full-time degree. If heading back and studying a full law biochemistry degree is not your kind of thing, then there are plenty of opportunities to study in an informal environment, the most well-known being The University of the Third Age who now offer thousands of interest groups and learning programmes across the UK.
This is just a brief insight into the many ways you can look after your mental health and I’m sure you all have your own tips and tricks. Whatever it is that works for you, it’s important to keep our minds active and if you’re not feeling yourself, speak to someone.
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