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World Mental Health Day is today (October 10th). Each year, professionals, mental health advocates and your average citizen work to raise awareness on managing your mental health. Just as we work out, managing your mental health takes time and energy.
Today, the global community comes together to be an empathetic voice for all of those who struggle, have struggled or have seen a loved one struggle with their mental health.
Mental health can fluctuate throughout your life, however, significant life changes such as retirement can impact your mental and emotional wellbeing. In Australia, 10% of retirees experience depression or anxiety. There are many things that we can do to improve mental wellbeing, but if you’re concerned for yourself or a loved one, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or healthcare professional.
Here are our tips for staying happy and healthy in retirement.
Retirement loneliness is a surprising side effect of leaving work. Away from the companionship of co-workers and the bustle of an office, recent retirees can feel quite isolated. Studies show that isolation and loneliness can have adverse effects on your health, and lead to mental health issues. Connecting with those in your community, family and friends can help smooth the transition into retirement. Consider making weekly family dinners, or coffee date. Alternatively, get involved in the community through groups, classes or volunteering. It is a great way to find people who love the same things and share your excitement. Head online, or to your local library for a list of clubs, groups or opportunities to connect with others.
Another way to get connected is by joining a family-focused retirement village such as Greenview Park. One of the best aspects of village living is the community. As a smaller retirement village, everybody knows everybody through events, group trips and meals. Our residents affectionately refer to our village as ‘a family’.
Practice Stress Management
One of the biggest issues 65s+ report is stress. It is stressful! Dealing with health, property, future plans and money can be a big burden. Manage your stress by taking small steps to relax. Each person has different methods, but try meditation, yoga, journaling, or even taking the time to walk by yourself. Experiment with different strategies to find what works for you.
Personally, when there are big decisions to be made, the thought of it is far more stressful than actually doing it. Don’t put off tough conversations or big decisions out of stress, get them over and done with. You will be amazed at how much calmer you feel once they are done.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is great, everyone can agree. Regular and enough sleep is super important for your mental health. It is recommended that adults receive between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. Too little and you are more prone to cardiovascular disease, depression and irritability. Oversleeping can be similarly linked to depression and reduced cognitive ability.
Keeping your sleep schedules regular is equally important. An irregular schedule can lead to irritability, drowsiness, mood swings, and memory problems due to the disruption in our circadian rhythm. Listen to your body, and let yourself go to bed when you start feeling tired.
Take Time for You
One of the most important things we can do for our mental health is to take time for ourselves. Life can be busy, even when we leave work. Grandkids, committees, classes, cooking, volunteering – it adds up. Schedule 30 minutes each day dedicated to you. Sit and listen to music, journal, or have a cup of tea. Whatever it is, take a breather from the rest of your day.
Listen to yourself. After a life of pushing through the times we needed breaks, or putting work and family over downtime, it can be hard to recognise when our bodies are asking for a break. Sometimes you just need to step away and have a mental health day. Learn to listen to this need before you burn out.
Mental health is something rarely talked about openly, and some even see it as taboo. The reality is, we all have our own ways of coping and our own hurdles. Today, on World Mental Health Day, do something kind for yourself and encourage others to do the same. There is nothing taboo about being a friend of yourself.
The Depression Helpline (0800 111 757)
Healthline (0800 611 116)
Lifeline (0800 543 354)
Samaritans (0800 726 666)
Youthline (0800 376 633)
Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797)