Mental Health

Looking after your mental health is especially important during your senior years. With a global ageing population, approximately 15% of which suffer some form of mental disorder ranging from depression, anxiety or even Alzheimer’s and dementia, nurturing the mental well-being of yourself and those around us is becoming increasingly important. 

Lack of confidence or low mood is something that we all experience from time to time and often there may be identifiable causes that can help mitigate these feelings.  

Your Daily Habits

Take a look at your daily routines and habits to identify things that may be negatively impacting your confidence.

Our mental health is directly correlated to our physical health so it’s important to address any issues that may be holding you back. Eating well and getting some fresh air and exercise may seem basic but oftentimes they’re the first thing we let slip if we’re going through a stressful or busy time. Take a look at your diet and make sure you’re eating foods that taste good and fuel your body. Not everyone enjoys spending time in the gym but getting outside for a short walk every day or taking part in a sport you enjoy, is important for both your physical and mental wellbeing.

It’s also important to consider who you’re spending time with and the kinds of activities you choose to spend your free time on. If your confidence is suffering then surrounding yourself with negative people who demand excessive time and energy from you is a no-go. Instead, spend time with positive people and practice setting boundaries so you feel confident saying “no.”

Take Pride in Your Appearance

It isn’t always easy to take pride in your appearance, particularly if you’re struggling with low self-esteem or feeling unhappy with the way you look. If you frequently find yourself disappointed with your reflection or avoid having photographs taken, your appearance may be affecting your confidence.

It may not be possible to instantly become happy with the way you look but there are small steps you can take, regardless of your age to improve your confidence, whether it’s taking the time to put on makeup every morning, trying out a new hairstyle or colour or even treating yourself to a new top.

If particular issues are bothering you about your appearance, for example, if you’re struggling with your weight, then taking initial steps to address this, such as eating better, exercising more or even talking to your GP about your weight, can help you feel like you’re tackling the problem and increase your confidence, even if you don’t instantly see results in the mirror.

Take Care of Yourself

Self-care is directly related to self-esteem and self-confidence. This is because people who value themselves as equal to others are more likely to prioritise their own needs and practise effective self-care.

What exactly self-care entails will look different to different people but essentially, it’s about taking responsibility for your own feelings and happiness and not looking to other people – or things – to make you happy. It’s also about prioritising your own physical and mental well-being and engaging in practices or activities that promote (rather than detract from) it.

Self-care means checking in with yourself and identifying how you’re feeling and what you need at any given moment. Are you feeling restless, isolated or ‘cooped up’ after a day inside? Maybe you’re feeling lonely and in need of a catch-up over coffee with a friend? Self-care isn’t just about soaking in a bubble bath with candles and a good book (although for some people, that might be exactly what they need!)

Sleep Hygiene

Lack of sleep can greatly affect your mood and general mental well-being. At certain times in our lives, poor sleep might be difficult to avoid, for example, certain medicines or health conditions and your chances of an undisturbed night are low. Being aware of such issues is something to be taken up with your GP or carer who may be able to provide remedies to help you achieve a good night’s sleep. 

There are things that you can also do yourself to help improve your sleep quality. Good sleep hygiene is about creating habits and behaviours that support sleep. Following a set bedtime routine helps you relax and unwind and lets your brain know that it will soon be time to sleep. Avoiding looking at screens just before bed is vital as phones and tablets emit blue light, which interferes with the melatonin production that controls sleep cycles. Other tips for a good night’s sleep involve limiting your caffeine intake, particularly in the afternoon and evening and avoiding daytime naps.