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  • Writer's pictureAlex Strein, MBA

Be Kind To Your Mind

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to the National Institute of Health, Over 57 million Americans struggle with some form of mental illness. Many American seniors struggle with Mental Health due to stigma and lack of resources. Seniors are often navigating loss of independence and losing loved ones, which can result in anxiety and depression. Self-care can help the older adult navigate difficult changes they may be experiencing.

1. Spend time with important people, like friends and family.

Socializing and creating a good support system are integral to having good mental health. It is important that you have people you can rely on in times of need. Even if it is just an occasional chat, strong social connections help us live longer and healthier lives.

2. Find a hobby.

Many older adults are struggling with changing ability levels. This may leave them unable to participate in things they previously enjoyed. It is important to have things to keep the mind healthy and active. Even though some hobbies may need to be modified to meet functional needs, the older person is still able to engage, participate and have fun in activities they once enjoyed! Painting and bird watching are great examples.

3. Exercise.

It’s on every list, but it’s for good reason! Exercising not only keeps our bodies healthy, but it helps keep our minds healthy, too. Exercise releases endorphins and serotonin in the body, which are feel good chemicals. They are linked to improved moved and improved thinking. If you’re not feeling up to a full fledged workout, try going for a brisk walk. A recommended 30 minutes of exercise at least three times per week can make a huge difference!

4. Eat well and stay hydrated.

Fueling our bodies also fuels our minds. Water helps to flush out waste and negative things in our bodies. Getting proper nutrition helps ensure that the body has enough vitamins and minerals to support neurotransmitters in the brain relay the right messages. Staying hydrated and eating well can also lead to improved mood and focus.

5. Above all, be kind.

To others and to yourself. Having a positive outlook can make a huge difference on mood and emotional wellbeing.

Struggling with mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Though there are many things you can do to help care for yourself, sometimes it is important to seek professional help. If you are in crisis, you can reach out to the suicide prevention hotline by calling or texting 988. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also has resources that can be helpful in a time of need.

The Paragon of Madisonville is proudly celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month.

You matter. Thanks for being here.

Dedicated to Lacie

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