As you age, caring for your physical health becomes more important than ever.

Caring for your mental health should be no different, but many people avoid it because they feel they’re too old to make any changes to their routines or habits. However, the sooner you start taking care of your mental health, the better your life will be in the long run! It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80; take some time to learn about these seven tips and incorporate them into your daily life now to make your later years more enjoyable and healthy.

Eat Nutritious Foods

When you age, your body needs fewer calories and less protein than it did when you were younger—but that doesn’t mean you should be eating fewer nutrients! (The worst thing you can do to your mental health is deprive yourself of essential vitamins.) Instead, focus on high-quality foods. Load up on leafy greens, lean protein, good fats like avocados and salmon, and whole grains like brown rice.

Stay Physically Active

Whether you’re in your 20s or 60s, physical activity is a must if you want to maintain good mental health. For many older women, social isolation can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression—but staying active helps fight these feelings by providing a sense of purpose and self-worth. If it’s been a while since you took up an active hobby, start small: consider going on daily walks or taking up yoga or tai chi.

Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol

As you age, your body becomes less able to metabolize alcohol. The effects of alcohol also take longer to wear off, so over-indulging can leave you feeling far worse than if you were younger. It’s always best to be careful with your intake and avoid drinking too much; it isn’t worth risking your health or mental well-being in any way.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of health problems, including depression. If you’re suffering from symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor. Sleep is critical for maintaining mental health and in some cases may help reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Have Meaningful Activities

Socializing with friends and loved ones can help stave off depression, especially as you age. Activities like volunteering, visiting with family, or attending religious services may provide a sense of purpose and promote healthy living and socialization. For example, animal rescue groups are often in need of volunteers—you could spend time with animals while giving back to your community!

Don’t Let Tasks Overwhelm You

As you age, it’s important to assess how your brain and body respond to stress. For some people, work is a good stress reliever—it keeps their mind off other tasks they need to complete. But, if you can’t stop thinking about laundry or housecleaning when you should be working, don’t feel guilty. Instead of letting tasks overwhelm you, decide which things are most important and block out time each day to tackle them.

Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!

Older adults need even more activity than their younger counterparts. But, many don’t get enough exercise, which is unfortunate since there are so many reasons to exercise. Exercise can improve your mood, it can increase your brainpower and flexibility and it can help you live longer and healthier. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap these benefits—you just need to do some sort of physical activity on a regular basis.

December 30, 2021 — Frank Lucas