As we grow older it is important to address the needs of our mental health. Whether you are approaching retirement or already experiencing retirement as a new stage of life, examining, and establishing ways to maintain good mental health is key to healthy aging. In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month and Older Americans Month, here are a few ways to keep your health thriving:

Incorporate Self-Care
While the term “self-care” seems to get thrown around more and more lately, it’s important not to lose sight of the value and impact it can hold in your life. If you are not able to take care of yourself first, you miss out on the true joys in life that bring you fulfillment. A few ways to practice self-care are getting enough rest, connecting with a therapist, and finding a hobby to do regularly.

Getting enough rest is beneficial no matter what stage of life you are in. Not only can the proper amount of sleep prevent you from getting sick as often, but it can also make a huge impact on your mental health as well. Poor mental health can be caused by a variety of factors but some of the most common include feeling unproductive, having low energy, and just physically not feeling well. According to the CDC one third of Americans do not get enough quality sleep. To make sure you are obtaining adequate sleep, practice a night time routine by going to bed at the same time every night. Incorporate routine practices that stimulate relaxation such as reading a book or taking a warm bath and allow your body and mind to unwind.

Connect with a Therapist
Getting connected with a therapist will guarantee you bring your mental health journey to the next level. The false stigma behind going to therapy is that it means something has to be wrong in order to need therapy. In reality having a third-party resource who isn’t emotionally involved in your life can help you reach your personal goals and be a useful tool in your self-growth. Now more than ever therapy is easily accessible, even while staying in the comfort of your own home. If you’re unable to meet in-person, consider reaching out to your health insurance provider to find a virtual therapist who suits your needs.

Get a Hobby
Find a hobby that brings you joy and a sense of fulfillment. Having an activity in your life that you can do on your own enriches your life and takes your mind off any day-to-day stress you may be experiencing. Even in times of COVID there are ways to discover new interests. The result of this can leave you feeling more calm and capable of managing the stressful things that oftentimes do require your time and attention. A hobby can be anything that brings you pleasure like journaling, attending regular fitness classes, reading, doing puzzles, going for walks or even cooking. Try out a few and find the right one for you!

Prepare For Retirement
Financial stress is a leading cause of poor mental health. When you approach retirement or are newly introduced to the retirement world, you’ll likely experience changes in your financial health as well. This means, approaching your finances head on and assessing a budget that works for you.

For many, entering retirement means a change in income. While you may have been able to work overtime to make a few extra dollars if needed, options like that won’t be as easily available once you’ve entered this stage in your life. However, a change in income does not have to mean an increase in financial stress. Knowing how much money is coming in and how much is going out is a key factor in budgeting your finances well. Setting a budget will give you a guide to work with so no matter what comes up, you know the ins and outs of your financial state. Using a resource like BudgetPulse can make it easy for older adults to organize their budget by linking all of their accounts in one place.

Consider Downsizing
A great way to lower expenses is to consider downsizing. Having a lower mortgage will provide more wiggle room in your net income available and give you a cushion for the unexpected. Plus, having less house to clean is an added bonus too! When looking into a new space it is important to ask yourself, “How much house can I afford in order to live comfortably?” Entering the housing search knowing exactly what you’re looking for, and your max budget, will help you in crucial times of house bidding and finding the right fit for this next chapter!

Keep Up With Your Physical Health
Physical and mental health go hand-and-hand. When you feel good physically, it directly affects how you feel mentally. In order to stay ahead of illnesses and continue to stay healthy as you age, it is important to take proper care of your body. Staying up to date on your dental and primary care checkups, eating well, and drinking enough water and staying active are great ways to keep your mind and body at its best!

Stay Up to date
A huge piece of healthy aging and good mental well-being is staying up to date on dental and primary care checkups as this will allow you to take preventative measures when it comes to keeping your mind and body in tip top shape. Working together with your doctors will ensure your body is well taken care of and allow you to address issues head on before they develop to something more severe.

Nourish Your Body and Get Active
Part of feeling good mentally is feeling good physically. Nourishing your body with the proper foods and amount of water keeps you energized and allows you to be able to do the things you want to do. Like a fine oiled machine, your body requires maintenance to sustain itself and  to keep running well! Setting aside a chunk of time each day to get your body moving can help prevent or offset the normal health issues that naturally unfold with age. Staying active doesn’t have to be an extensive time at the gym or lifting heavy weights either. You can get active simply by going for regular walks or practicing these routines in your home for just a few minutes every day.