Mental health is a topic that has been getting an increasing amount of attention recently. With the increased violence we are experiencing, some say that it’s a result of the added stress that people have been living with over the past couple of years. Our interest here is not on what’s causing the stress, but, rather, what can we do to take care of our mental health especially during our retirement years.
Whenever you’re dealing with a problem, the first step is creating awareness. Take some time look at the warning signs of mental health problems and look at yourself and those around you. Simple things can be a sign of bigger problems. Do you find yourself given to anger or impatience more often? Are you bored or distracted or have trouble sleeping lately? These can be signs that you may “out of shape” mentally and need to make some changes in your life. Most of us are aware when we’re out of shape physically with added weight or getting out of breath more often, but we sometimes ignore the mental signs that are pointing to a need for change.
Begin by looking at yourself and realize that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. You wouldn’t think of planting a seed or a flower and not nurturing it, so why do so many of us neglect to handle our own selves with care? You’re a fragile human being whether you believe it or not. That doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means you are human. Have you taken the time to be nice to yourself? Are you doing the things that make you happy? Do you even know what they are?
Do you have any hobbies or interests? Do you keep your mind stimulated? Are you physically active? Are you getting enough sleep? Do you know how to relax? These are very serious questions, and your answers will give you a lot of insight on your mental health. Hobbies and interests are great ways to stimulate your mind and challenge yourself with projects and goals. Some hobbies will keep you active physically but others, like stamp collecting for example, will not be enough to give you the physical activity you need to keep your body fit. And, yes, physical fitness and eating nutritionally will have a positive impact on your mental health.
Think of volunteering in some way. When you give of yourself, it will create a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that will keep your outlook on life positive. It will also give you a chance to socialize which has been shown to another way to create a healthier outlook on life. Just one note of caution here and that’s to make sure you’re associating with the right people. Individuals who constantly complain or focus on the negative can have more of an impact than you can imagine. Make it a point to immerse yourself into activities that are fun and to socialize with people who are enjoying life to the fullest.
You can develop a discipline to keep a positive outlook on life. The world exists in your mind and, when you change your thought process, you will be amazed at how much it can change your mind. Some quiet time every day with an effort to list everything that you are grateful for in life can be a wonderful practice to start and maintain. This can be a part of a meditation or yoga session or even a time of contemplative prayer. It’s worth exploring whatever works for you.
Above all else, if you think you need help with your mental help, please seek it out. What most people don’t realize is that they don’t have to battle this alone. There are many ways to seek out help and you should never be hesitant to do so. On the contrary, you should do it right now! There is too much to enjoy in life, too many things to do and too many new things to learn. It’s time to Enjoy Retired Life!