October is Emotional Wellness Month, but every day of every month should be focused on emotional wellness, especially for older adults who might be confronted with challenges and changes in their lives. The ability to cope well with stress, obstacles and transition stems from robust emotional well-being.
There are many steps to take to get to the optimal emotional wellness, to that place where a person can be very aware and accepting of one’s emotions and can take steps to helping oneself. Factors that could impact emotional health include environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, physical, social and even spiritual states. One aspect of a person's life might end up impacting all the other parts. One needs to be aware that they affect each other.
Physical health greatly impacts emotional health. As people age, diminished mobility and disease might vastly alter their lives. It is essential for everyone to exercise as much as possible, even if sitting in a chair or even prone in a bed. Physical and occupational therapy are important and covered by insurance. A balanced diet is important too for emotional wellness. Blood pressure and sugar uptake, as well as medication interactions can all be affected by what is eaten. Remember to eat a balanced diet and follow the nutritional guidelines if you have cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease or any other ailment that cautions food intake. Be in contact with your doctors regularly. Get a good night’s sleep.
Conversely, stress and emotions impact physical health. When one is stressed, hormones are released from the brain throughout the body. Since hormones play an important role in bodily functions, when stress keeps the hormones flooding the body, the immune response system gets overloaded with a negative impact.
Here are a few sites to visit to work on maintaining your physical health to keep your stress and immune response healthier.
Social circles are important to emotional health. Make sure to have constant people in your life who will provide socialization and support. Senior centers can provide this. Some have opened, but if you are still isolating due to the pandemic, there are online programs servicing seniors. There are also online support groups.
You need not socialize just with your age group. Find people who share your interests. There are many options for videoconferencing with family and friends. Don’t wait for someone to call you, reach out. In fact, longevity can be enhanced with wider social circles.
Spiritual practices can greatly reduce stress. Pray, meditate, or practice mindfulness. Live in the moment. Be positive. Work on gratitude to be aware of how much good exists in your life.
Keep your brain stimulated. Although cognition may diminish as one ages, try to keep occupied with crossword puzzles, adult games, crafts, reading, and continuing education. Learn something new. There are so many classes offered specifically for older adults but many others open to all, including college courses. If you cannot get to the library, have someone help you borrow books online.
Keep yourself occupied. Keep up with your profession with continuing education. Retirees can volunteer, even from home. You have so much to give. Try mentoring someone. At the same time, give yourself permission to take time to just relax.
Remember that if you feel overwhelmed and cannot cope, reach out to someone. If you are feeling depressed or anxious, you may need to see a psychotherapist. Counseling is also available via telehealth. Many clinics accept Medicare. Ask your PCP or a senior agency for a referral or search at https://locator.apa.org