By Julianna Stewart and Michelle Myatt
For most people, Christmas is a time of joy – a time for family and celebrations. But for many older people it can trigger feelings of loneliness and grief. They may have lost friends or partners and find Christmas a very confronting time.
You may not realise that your emotional and mental health can have an impact on your physical wellbeing. Now is the time to take stock – reflect on your own feelings and general happiness – and reach out if you need support.
Sometimes it takes only a small change to make a big difference. There are several ways you can make the most out of this Christmas season. Here are some mental health tips to provide you with a path towards feeling well and living well.
How to find purpose
As we reflect during the Christmas period, we recognise how important it is for everyone to feel they have purpose, as it gives us meaning, pleasure and something to work towards.
Our purpose does not have to be big, as we have done the big things already – like having careers or families, travelling or making a lovely home. For some of us, we may already have purpose in our lives but not realise it.
Finding purpose starts with reflection, reviewing and being prepared to grow and make small changes.
Here’s some ways you can find purpose:
Connections – Developing stronger relationships with family, friends, and community.
Spirituality – growing your spiritual knowledge or being more involved in your spiritual community.
Acts of Service – Giving back to the community – volunteering, getting involved in a community project.
Health and Wellbeing – Improving your nutrition, joining an exercise group, going to a yoga, meditation, or mindfulness class.
Past activities you enjoyed – Thinking of things you have enjoyed in the past, igniting an old hobby or passion.
New hobbies and interest – Are there things you have wanted to do, but have never had the time or courage to try? Now is that time to get started and discover new interests and something to look forward to.
Knowledge – Is there an area of interest that you have always wanted to learn more about? Maybe it’s time to order that new book or enroll in a short course.
Why is social connection so important?
Chris Crockett, from aged care provider integratedliving, said social interaction can have a positive impact on our mood and self-confidence as well as physical wellbeing.
Chris coordinates Wellness for Independence® programs on a range of health topics both face-to-face and virtually and says working with seniors has taught her so much about the importance of social connection that we all need as human beings.
“No matter how introverted or extraverted an individual might be, social interaction is such a necessary, vital part of health. Without social connection, both mind and physical health will take a tumble,” she said.
“It’s so important to learn to be in the moment and to have a purpose. In order to have purpose, we need to connect with others,” said Chris.
The smiling faces from seniors tuning into a Wellness program on-line from their own homes, shows just how important that social connection is.
integratedliving offers a range of activities and programs, as well as in-home support, which can assist you.
Wellness and Activity Centres – provide a warm and welcoming environment with meaningful conversation, activities and friendships. The centres also encourage a healthy and active lifestyle through a range of supportive and inclusive activities that embrace the uniqueness of each individual.
Virtual programs to stay connected – Join in from the comfort of your own home, while providing a chance to meet in a group environment and enjoy the company of like-minded people. The programs can be accessed via a computer, laptop or tablet.
The topics include:
Let’s Have a Conversation
Arts and craft sessions
Games and Trivia
Music and singing
Wellness exercise classes
Keeping yourself mentally and physically active, finding purpose and activities to look forward to, will bring you positive changes that make you feel better in yourself and better about your life as you age.
integratedliving is here to assist you on your journey and help you feel well, be well and live well. Contact us on 1300 782 896 or visit integratedliving.org.au