Why Self-Care Is Important To Mental Health As You Age

Self-care refers to the conscious effort to care for all aspects of your body, including physical, mental and psychological.  Practicing self-care can be critical for staving off depression and loneliness, both of which can lead to cognitive dysfunction.  

Thankfully, there are simple routines you can follow daily to ensure your overall mental and physical wellness.  This article will give you a better understanding of self-care and show why it’s important to maintain a proactive approach in your senior years. 

Why self-care is important 

Some of those wrinkles on our face and aches in our body have been well-earned through laughter, determination and roadblocks (both real and perceived).  But some have been earned through neglect of our bodies and unhealthy life choices.  

It’s never too late to turn back the clock by getting into a routine of self-care.  By doing so you will:

  • Improve your physical health by taking care of your body
  • Improve your mental outlook by expanding your mind
  • Find greater joy in living your life by being happy with yourself 

Tips for self-care 

Let’s look at ways you can achieve the best of yourself by making some of these a part of your daily routine: 

 Regular exercise – Studies show that 15-30 minutes per day helps boost your immune system, aid in weight control and help with balance issues to reduce the risk of injury by falls. 

Eat healthy and stay hydrated – A balanced diet ensures your body is getting the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy and able to maintain an active lifestyle.  It is recommended that adults drink 6-8 glasses of water daily to stay hydrated and avoid urinary tract infections. 

Spend time doing what you enjoy – prioritize ‘you’ for a change.  You’ve spent most of your life caring for other people, now is the time to care for yourself.  Identify activities that make you happy. Pursue your hobbies, whatever they may be, watch movies you’ve never made time to see, spend time outdoors enjoying your yard and garden or visit cultural centers.  

Practice mindfulness and meditation – Living in the moment means not worrying about the past or fretting about the future.  Reduce stress by finding a quiet place and just breathe deeply.  Focus and find peace in this moment.  

Build better relationships with friends and family – You’ve focused on your job through your working career and being a parent during your children’s formative years.  You and your friends finally have the time to socialize, so make the most of it.  Meet for coffee or go on outings to places of mutual interest.  Even your adult children can become your best friends! 

Stimulate your mind – This is crucial to avoid becoming stagnant and letting dementia take over.  Do crossword puzzles, read books you’ve been wanting to read, learn a new hobby or even take some adult classes in something that you are interested in.  

Cultivate a positive attitude – Wake up, get up and get dressed.  Start each day with a positive attitude.  Think of things to look forward to and then actually do them.  A positive attitude will help your physical and mental well-being. 

Get regular checkups – Seeing your doctor for regular check-ups is not only beneficial to your health, but also your mental well-being.  There is no need to focus on aches and pains when you know they are nothing serious. 

Relax – Above all else, make the time to relax and focus on the positives that are coming from your self-care routine.   Relaxing before bedtime without the distractions of television or social media will help you achieve a good night’s sleep. 

Recognize your boundaries – If you are finding loneliness or depression hard to overcome even after adopting a self-care routine, it might be time to talk to a professional.  Although we all experience it, aging is not always pleasant, either mentally or physically.  

Help from your loved ones 

You have moulded your children into the people they are today, so it will help if you can encourage them to support your self-care routine.  Ideally, they would:  

  • Be available.  Sometimes a pleasant conversation can be all it takes to elevate your mood.  If your loved ones are not nearby, chatting with a friend can be just as beneficial. 
  • Be aware of the importance of self-care and be willing to make some suggestions.  They know you better than anyone else, and will know what kind of encouragement to offer. 
  • Be consistent with their encouragement and not impose their own ideas about self-care on you.  

Hopefully, the tips listed here have given you an idea of how self-care can strengthen your mental and physical health.  However, the routine must be one that you are comfortable with for it to work.  It is all about personal choices. Take into consideration your age group, but mostly your interests, values and the things that make you happy. 

Once you have made self-care a routine, it will come as naturally as brushing your teeth in the morning.

Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.