Tips for maintaining good mental health and well-being during the lockdown
The Silver Santé Study is a 5-year EU-funded project investigating mental health and well-being in Europe’s ageing population. So our experts have come up with a few tips and links that may help older adults maintain good mental health and well-being during this challenging time.
While we all stay at home to protect ourselves and others, it’s more important than ever that we find ways to stay in regular contact with friends and family. Online platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype or Houseparty can be great for video calling but if that’s new to you, Age UK has produced this handy guide to help get you started: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/work-learning/technology-internet/video-calling/ . If you don’t have access to a computer, make sure you phone friends, family and neighbours regularly to chat and keep in touch.
Social contact is essential for maintaining good mental health, particularly if you live alone. But there are other things you can do to support good mental health. Take the time to get outside in the fresh air and enjoy your garden, if you have one, and make the most of the arrival of spring to tidy up and get planting. You can even start growing your own fruit and veg in the smallest of gardens. Meditation, yoga/stretching, or just sitting and listening to nature can also help you take time out for yourself. You could also take advantage of this time to learn a new foreign language with a free app like Duolingo ( https://www.duolingo.com/).
Even though outings are limited, it’s important to build some regular exercise into your new routine. Try doing exercises at home each day by following Joe Wicks’ free online workouts for seniors (https://youtu.be/A2wp8Ipxn9s) or if your mobility is limited, try this chair-based workout from Age UK https://youtu.be/4Qx2vPetMRQ .
It’s always beneficial to do the things you enjoy like reading a good book, playing a musical instrument, playing card games, board games, chess, or doing arts and crafts. You could also take the time to browse your photo albums or start making a new one with the stack of photos you never had time to organise. If you live alone, there are apps for scrabble, card games, crosswords, or Sudoku, to keep your brain active, to name but a few.
Below are some further links from the Silver Santé Study team with ideas to help you stay in good physical and mental health during this challenging time:
Free mindfulness audio resources from the Mindful website
Free online gardening advice from expert Christine Walkden on the Age UK website
Download the free MindMate app which offers free brain games and personalised daily workouts that help sharpen cognitive skills for seniors and baby boomers.
To sum up, try to keep yourself busy both mentally and physically in order to stay healthy and happy and remember that these restrictions won’t last forever, so keep smiling and stay positive!