May is Mental Health Month and Manopause wants to help raise awareness of this important issue.
We Boomers have a weird relationship with our mental health. We work hard for achieving happiness and stability but by the time we get to a stage where that is possible, we are weighed down with a certain amount of stress. Some of us even fall into depression. Adding to the problem is our generation’s stubbornness to acknowledge that we might have mental health issues. You must understand that for a healthy life, you need a healthy mind. If you don’t take care of your mental health, it can aggravate into physiological issues like cardiovascular disease.
Here are some ways you can achieve a healthier mind and enjoy your older adult life.
Hit The Pipe and The Bottle Less
You need better coping mechanisms that doesn’t involve drowning yourself in booze or smoke, day in and day out. Not only do they worsen your insides, but they can also lead you deeper into negative feelings. If you haven’t already, then it’s way past time you outgrew these bad habits.
Pursue A Hobby You Are Passionate About
Having a hobby has helped people rediscover the joy of living. It doesn’t matter if your hobby is considered small or silly by others. If you care about things like collecting art, setting-up trains or writing novels, then do them.
Move Your Body
Your body craves movement, even if your mind tells you otherwise. Exercise releases ‘happy’ chemicals like endorphins and dopamine into your brain. Endorphins help to overcome feelings of pain while dopamine gives feelings of pleasure. Expect to find yourself feeling a little lighter after a good exercise session. It’s a healthy, cheap and legal way to get high.
Don’t Neglect Sleep
Lack of sleep can do a number on the brain. Researchers have found that a tired brain can’t take on the stresses of life and can lead to mental health issues. Make sure you get 8 hours of continuous sleep. Exercise will help you here too; it also releases serotonin which is the chemical responsible for restful sleep.
It’s like they say, “You are what you eat.” So, lay off the junk food!. If you eat right, you can stay sharp for a very long time. Eating nuts and fish rich in Omega-3 fats, like salmon and trout, not only improves memory but keeps depression and Alzheimer’s disease at bay. Anti-oxidants in coffee and dark chocolate will keep you alert and happy. (Remember when those things were supposed to be bad for you?) Even eating eggs and vegetables are known to have positive effects on the mind.
Be Kind to Yourself
In our lives so far, we’ve done things that needed to be done even when we didn’t want to. This all changes after you cross 50. It’s time to embrace a new philosophy of self-love. Avoid ‘sad sack’ friends that bring you down with their stories. Go out and meet new people. If you’re single, look for someone to love. Volunteer at a local charity; you’ll find performing acts of kindness to be a mood booster. Learn new skills and new ideas.
Seek Help If You Need It
We don’t hide it when we get a cold or break a bone, so why is mental health any different? We all want healthier lives, and mental health is a part of that. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re bananas; it just means you’re human. So seek the professional help of a therapist or a psychiatrist if you need to. There’s no longer a stigma attached to it. These days, it’s usually harder to find people who haven’t been through some kind of therapy than people who have.
It’s been said that after turning 50, a person finds contentment like they’ve never known before. Pay attention to your mental health so that you are prepared to experience this happiness in full.