How to care for our mental health as we age.

Plus: Crash diets and your metabolism.

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."


Friday. Sometimes, a picture (or, in this case, a Meme) is worth a thousand words. 

So, what are some things you can do this year to take better care of your mental health? Especially as we get older? Let’s dive in.


Mental Health As We Age

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Aging doesn't just bring physical changes; it can actually improve your mental health. With age comes increased resilience and better coping skills, contributing to stronger mental health. However, this doesn't mean mental health care isn't something older adults should have to think about. In fact, mental health conditions are still common in this age group (READ MORE) but often remain undiagnosed and untreated, partly due to the combined stigma around aging and mental health.

It's a myth that it's too late in life to develop new, healthy habits for taking care of your mental health. Regardless of age, there is always time to start practices like meditation, journaling, or therapy. These habits can significantly benefit your mental well-being, but knowing where to begin can be challenging.

Physical exercise is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. We talk about this a lot, but it is worth mentioning again.  

Exercise is linked to improved brain health, reduced anxiety and depression risk, better sleep, and overall quality of life. Physical activity, especially in the sunshine, can improve mood and increase vitamin D levels. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity per week for adults, including those over 65. And, of course, you should also be doing resistance training to maintain muscle mass and bone density.

Finding an active, social hobby, like pickleball, hiking, or cycling, can be even more beneficial. These activities keep you physically fit and give you a sense of purpose outside of work and family. They connect you with others and encourage socialization, another critical piece of promoting good mental health.  

Maintaining a social circle is super important. Social isolation and loneliness are significant risk factors for mental health conditions in older adults. Regular social activities improve mental health and life satisfaction and can even extend your life. This is why building a network beyond just family is vital.

Lastly, therapy can be a powerful tool at any age. Whether it's coping with life changes or dealing with emotions, therapy can offer immense benefits. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are particularly effective for older adults. 

Unfortunately, a stigma is often attached to seeking the help people need. Therapy can be seen as admitting something is wrong, which can be a hard step for people to take.  

The key takeaway? Aging can bring better mental health, but it's essential that we all do the work to actively maintain it. Regular physical exercise, a strong social network, and openness to therapy can all play significant roles in ensuring good mental health as we age. Remember, it's never too late to start caring for your mental well-being.

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