Life transitions can be stressful. Taking care of your mental health during these times can help you. Some common life transitions you might experience include:
Loss of loved ones, and
Age-related health changes.
Having mental wellbeing over your lifetime can help you feel fulfilled. Research shows there are things you can do to have better wellbeing. The following are some ways to have better mental wellbeing.
Do things you enjoy and that have meaning to you.
Stay connected with community groups or other social events.
This can also reduce isolation and feeling lonely.
Being physically active, even light activities like walking or stretching, can make your mood better and help your brain health.
Pay attention to your signs of stress.
Lower your stress with deep breathing or meditation.
Learn how to take care of your wellbeing as you age with our Art & Science of Aging Well webinars.
Resources for Managing Optimal Aging
Promoting Mental Wellbeing
Research shows that your lifestyle has a great impact on your physical and mental health. Only 25% of your lifespan is directed by your genes; much more is decided by lifestyle! Changing even one of your behaviours or activities can have a big impact on your physical and mental health.
Here are six ways you can improve your mental health and brain health. After reading them, it is helpful to think about how you might set achievable goals. For example, you might think about how long, where, and when you do a new activity.
Positive Thinking About Aging
How you think is key to your health. In fact, a positive outlook on aging is the key to a long life. This way of thinking is linked to the following.
Experiencing lower risk of memory loss,
Being less isolated and lonely, and
Being better at dealing with stress
It can help to know that negative views on aging do not define you or your life as you age. Some ways to fight these negative views are to focus on your values, be caring to yourself and others, or practice gratitude through a daily gratitude journal. Other ways to think positively are to make meaning in your life through community, nurturing your connection to the earth or being spiritual.
Taking Care of Our Bodies
Moving your body and eating healthy food can help your wellbeing. Below you will find more details on each of these topics.
Physical activity helps your brain grow and form new connections, at any time in your life. Moving your body can also help lower your stress and improve resiliency (being able to handle hard situations). The following are some resources you might find helpful.
Movement Toward Wellness helps you find ways to move your body.
This program has live classes and videos, allowing you to explore the program at your own pace.
Taking Control of Your Mood: Get Active can help you plan to be more physically active.
There are many different kinds of healthy foods. Some help with your memory and learning. For example, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 fatty acids. Folic acid can also help your brain function.
Taking Control of Your Mood: Healthy Habits can help you set and keep healthy eating goals.
A key to overall health is to stay socially connected. For example, you might find your mood is better when you spend time with friends and family. Staying connected can also help with the following.
Intense emotions like low mood or worry,
Other mental health problems,
Improve brain performance,
Support memory, and
Lower the risk of dementia.
To pick up tips to stay connected, read Reach Out: It's Good for You!
Are there benefits to learning new things? Research shows that keeping your mind active is as important as physical activity. Some benefits from exercising your brain are found below.
Improves brain function,
Helps with memory,
Lowers risk of dementia, and
Helps you cope with stress.
Recognize When You Are Not Feeling Like Yourself
Many mental health concerns are not seen or addressed in older adults. For instance, it is common for people to have short periods of low mood or worry. When these emotions last for a long time or start to affect your daily life, you will want to seek support. When mental health concerns are not seen or addressed, you may struggle, which often leads to worse health.
Be aware of signs of mental health concerns as it can help you access support early. Some signs of mental health concerns you want to look out for are found below.
Changes in appetite,
Changes in your sleep,
No longer finding joy or do activities you use to like,
Feelings of low mood or worry that do not go away, and
Regular thoughts that are critical of yourself.
If you notice signs of mental health concerns you can seek support from a healthcare provider, your community, loved ones, or through Wellness Together Canada.
Know Where and How to Seek Support
Everyone needs support at some point. Knowing when to seek help is a strength. Some common forms of support may include reaching out to friends, family, community, or a health care provider. If you are unsure about reaching out in this way, then you might think about support groups. These groups are where people come together to discuss feelings, give and receive support, and share new ways of doing things.
Wellness Together Canada has many support group options and one might be the right fit for you. If you want to talk to a person one to one then you might want to speak with a counsellor or connect with a community of peer support, which you can do for free, with no referral, through Wellness Together Canada.
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