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Mental wellbeing

Feeling well is not just about being physically fit and healthy – it’s equally important to your overall health that you feel good mentally.

There are several things you can do to help support mental wellbeing.

Social contact

Meeting friends, enjoying hobbies and getting involved in the local community, perhaps by volunteering, makes life fulfilling and helps us to feel good about ourselves and life in general. If you find that you’re not able to do the things that you used to, why not try something new?

Spending time with other people can prevent you from feeling lonely or anxious and give you a chance to share experiences, thoughts and worries.

Volunteering is a good way to meet people. Think about the things you like doing, what you're good at and what type of organisation you want to help. Your local Age UK or Volunteering England can tell you about volunteering opportunities in your area.

Stay in touch

If you have family and friends nearby, try to meet up with them regularly or ask them to call round. Otherwise, regular phone calls can help you to stay close.

The internet has opened up more opportunities to stay in contact, such as exchanging emails and using Skype to make video phone calls. Feeling that people care about you can make a big difference to your outlook.

If you aren’t confident using the internet, ask your local Age UK for help – many offer training sessions and advice on getting online for older people.

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Make plans

People can have mixed feelings about retirement, and you may feel your life lacks purpose without work. However, you may find that you have more time to do all the things that you never had time to do when you were working.

Setting yourself goals, however small, can give you a sense of achievement and motivation. Your goal could be anything from finishing a crossword puzzle or making a phone call to a friend, to doing some gardening or reading a chapter of a book.

Planning days out or arranging activities for the week or month ahead will give you something to look forward to and keep you feeling positive.

Take a break

Whether you work or not, it’s important for your mental and physical wellbeing to take breaks from your routine. If you’re on your own or your usual travel partner isn’t available, why not see whether your local Age UK or another local club organises group holidays?

See the Mental Health Foundation guide How to look after your mental health in later life for more information and advice.

Further information

Downloads

Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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