Tending to Your Mental Health During the Pandemic
For many seniors, isolation is a serious problem at any time of the year. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however, has worsened the effects of isolation. Because seniors are the group most at risk of the novel coronavirus, many have limited seeing their families and postponed trips. Consequently, they could be feeling intense isolation.
Below, our estate planning attorneys in The Villages offer tips for taking care of your mental health. By putting into practice at least a couple of these, you can improve your mood and your optimism about the future.
Connect with Family Electronically
There is no reason you can’t hear your loved ones’ voices during this difficult time. There are many options for reaching out, including old standbys like the telephone to newer technologies like WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, and Facebook Messenger. Of course, as we age, technology can become a bit of a challenge. But ask around. Someone you know might have used one of these programs, or a loved one can walk you through how to install an app on your phone, computer, or tablet.
Seniors can continue to see neighbors and friends while maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet (as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control). If you have a mask to wear, you can go for a walk and talk to people outside. This pandemic does not require that anyone stay inside all the time.
Going for a walk or engaging in other activities can improve your mood, also. Exercise has been shown to increase the production of endorphins, which are chemicals responsible for creating a sense of “euphoria.” Endorphins can also reduce pain and calm nerves.
Turn Off the Television
For many people, the TV brings only bad news. To be sure, many networks thrive on sensationalism and are only too eager to share with the public negative information, all of which can take a toll on your mental health.
Turn off the TV. Instead, find an old book you haven’t read in a long time or play card games with your spouse. Going through an old photo album is a good way to spend a few hours on the week instead of consuming negative news through the tube.
Talk to a Doctor
Serious clinical depression will not be cured by exercise or playing cards. Instead, you’ll need to talk to a doctor, who might recommend prescription drugs or counseling.
Many seniors are embarrassed to admit to mental health challenges. For most of our nation’s history, there has been an intense stigma surrounding depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders, which some people interpret as a sign of “weakness.”
But there is nothing weak about admitting you are suffering from mental health challenges. There are helpful strategies a doctor can talk to you about for tackling your depression and immediately improving your quality of life.
We Are Here for Your Legal Needs
Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group remains open during the pandemic to serve our community. If you have a legal question, give us a call at 800-743-9732. We would be happy to assist.