Looking after our mental health is important at any point in our lives but it can get a little more difficult as we get older. Read on to find out our suggestions on what you can do to help improve well-being and self-esteem.
Did you know that depression is the second leading cause of disability worldwide? And that dementia affects around 44 million people - a number that is expected to double before the year 2030? As we get older, maintaining relationships as well as pursuing communal activities can become increasingly difficult and can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. We believe that it is so important to keep active, both physically and mentally, to improve the quality of our mental health that we would like to share our tips and advice on how you can look after yourself later on in life.
Physical Activity & Exercise
It is understood that physical activity and exercise have a direct impact on aiding better mental health and by receiving the support to enable and enjoy social and physical activity, lives can be improved. In the long term, regular activity can support growth in self-esteem and wellbeing and can also be a great way to meet new people. Furthermore, physical activity and exercise are immensely beneficial in reducing stress and anxiety, as well as being accessible methods of helping with any current underlying mental health issues.
Some great examples of physical activity are walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and dancing. The most important aspect is to find something you enjoy so that you can keep the activity up regularly.
Bath & North East Somerset Council have some great local suggestions of physical activity groups and classes. We have listed a few of these below but we recommend that you take a look at the full list here
Age UK Activities - lots of activities available including T'ai Chi, Walking Groups, Walking Football and EXTEND exercise classes.
GLL 60+ CLub Membership - Monday and Wednesday drop-in social sessions at Odd Down Sports Ground plus inclusive memberships.
Try Active - community cycling, running/walking and inclusive outdoor fitness sessions.
There are also many dance opportunities including Barn Dances/Ceilidhs with callers (call Richard or Jo on 01225 311634); Ballroom Dancing and Line Dancing at the Pavilion (www.bathpavilion.org or call 01225 486902); and Dance sessions run by Age UK B&NES (as above) amongst others. Source: Feel Good Bath
Social Clubs & Get-Togethers
Studies have shown that there is, unfortunately, an increase likelihood of mental health issues in people over the age of 65. Often this is attributed to retirement whereby leaving work can negatively impact self-esteem in terms of social interaction and fulfilment. Coupled with the decline in physical health, which prevents certain activities and the ability to travel easily, can make investing time in social clubs and get-togethers even more important to our well-being.
We would recommend thinking about what you enjoy doing and then start looking at joining a club or society that you can easily get to.
Book clubs, gardening clubs, joining a choir or meeting up to play board games are all great ways of getting together with friends and making new ones! Keeping social can have such a significant effect on your mood and will even lead to feelings of belonging and increased positivity.
We’ve listed a couple of potential clubs to start looking at below. Even if you do not commit to them just yet, allowing yourself to make the decision to get out there and try something new is a great start.
Bath Book Club - This Book Club is open to all bookworms of any ages! They meet once a month to chat about the selected book, in a friendly and informal way (aiming for it to not be too heavy and academic!) They also change the venue every month so that you get to try various different pubs and cafes around Bath.
Weston Village Gardening Club - The club organises the Weston Village Flower Show, a very popular community event held each year.
Golden Oldies Choir - Now in its tenth year and more commonly known simply as “GOLDIES, the founder is the highly respected Bath-based musician Grenville Jones who recognised how singing and music, brightened the lives and well being of the many people across his choirs.
Taking the first steps to look after your mental health
Even by taking the time to read about how to look after your mental health as you get older, you are taking the first steps in improving your mental well-being. Taking part in exercise and regular activities mean that you will lower the risk of depression and dementia, as well as assisting general cognitive health, by up to 20%!
Physical and social activity, whilst reducing stress and support better moods, are excellent ways to help improve the quality of your life. We are more than happy to help if you have any questions about what might work best for you and how we can help you be more active and social.
Please do not hesitate to contact Abney & Baker on 01225 952200.