Mental health is about thoughts, feelings, relationships, and how you feel in yourself. There are lots of things that can affect our mental health – for better and worse. Your mental health has a big influence on everything in your life - it can affect your sleep, your relationships with others, your appetite and even how well you recover after being ill.
Life has many challenges to overcome – some of these can be stressful or difficult to deal with. There are many changes that happen as you get older such as:
- Family growing up/moving away
- Bereavement or loss of friends or loved ones
These changes sometimes mean you don’t have the support that you had in the past. This can make it more difficult to cope with life’s challenges.
Any change can be stressful, even happy things like new grandchildren, retiring and going on holiday. If you don’t have the support to cope with this change then the stress can start to impact on your health.
What can I do?
- Connect - spend time with those around you, friends, family, neighbours, colleagues, or join a group. You can connect online, over the phone or in person.
- Be active - physical activity boosts your mood and can help you sleep. Get out for a walk or cycle, go for a swim, work in the garden – find something you enjoy.
- Keep Learning - Learning new skills gives you a sense of achievement and confidence and helps to keep your mind active. Learn from a friend, join a local club or find a class near you.
- Give to others - Kindness to others helps your mental wellbeing...it’s a win-win situation! A smile, a thank you, helping out in your local community or volunteering can all give you a mental boost.
- Take notice - Try to be aware of the present moment – notice your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you. Some people call this “mindfulness”.
What if I need more help?
If you have any worries or concerns about your mental health it can really help to speak to someone. You could speak to a family member, a friend, your GP or another Health Professional.
If you are not ready to speak to someone in person you could call Breathing Space on 0800 838587 or the Samaritans on 08457 909090. These services are ready to listen and happy to help, whatever the problem is – sometimes talking it through with someone can help you work out what to do next. Just speaking to someone can often make you feel better.
Mental Health problems, much like loneliness, can be difficult to talk about – problems like this are common, but they aren’t inevitable and there are things you can do to help.