Staying connected for good mental health is important especially as we age. Keeping in touch with friends and family gives us the opportunity to talk, share our problems, enjoy a laugh or even helps take the focus off our problems and we can take time out to enjoy the company of others.
My mother-in-law is 90 and her husband of 70 years recently passed away. She has no hobbies and constantly craves company. Having to cope with the death of her dear husband it is vital that she stays connected with family and friends.
Midlife can bring many changes including the ’empty nest’. For some this can be a stressful time as much of their life has been devoted to the family and now feel they are no longer needed. We always need our Mum but children grow and become adults with their own lives to live.
Sometimes we have devoted so much time to the family that we have forgotten who we are as an individual. Developing and maintaining friendships plus renewing your relationship with your spouse will help you as you embark on a new journey of discovery.
When we are feeling depressed or ‘down’ we don’t want to connect. We can feel withdrawn and don’t want to go out. If left this way, this can become a serious issue especially for older adults who then start to fear going out at all.
Nothing beats face-to-face contact to keep our connections strong. People do need people and we usually feel uplifted after a visit with family or friends.
Here are 5 ways you can stay connected for good mental health
Make a time for a regular catch up with family & friends – arrange a set time to catch up with family or friends for a meal, movie or coffee. Spending time with your children or grandchildren can bring great joy to your life so arrange to have some one-on-one time with them. I have recently started taking my 2 year old grandson on a weekly adventure. We pack up and take off for the day and discover what our city has to offer. It doesn’t have to cost much but the time spent together is priceless.
Do you have an elderly relative who may be feeling lonely? Why not arrange to take them out or make the time to visit them for an hour or so.
Join a social or hobby group – do you have a hobby? There are so many groups and hobbies that we can try. It is a great way to learn something new and also meet people with similar interests.
Facebook – social media is a wonderful way to keep connected and I have made many friends through Facebook. However, we do need to ensure that we don’t rely totally on this form of medium.
Volunteer – giving back in some way makes us feel good. We are helping each other and not focussing on our own problems for a while. Volunteering is a way to give back and help others. You may also see that your own problems aren’t quite that bad compared to others.
Be aware – Is there someone in your circle who has started to become withdrawn? Why not arrange to catch up with them? We all get busy but a simple phone call or coffee catch up can mean so much.
In the final post we look at the benefits of unplugging technology for a day