senior women laughing and petting a dog

Emotional Wellness for Seniors

Emotional wellness is the ability to successfully work through your feelings and thoughts, both positive and negative, in order to cope with stress, adapt to change and handle life’s many challenges. It’s the active progress toward stress reduction, self-care, maintaining mindfulness and cultivating a positive attitude towards life.
Look at this quick guide on how to maintain emotional wellness during retirement, and learn simple ways to decrease your stress and improve your life by getting in touch with your emotions. 

Why Is Emotional Wellness Important for Seniors?

Retirement is exciting, but it also brings a lot of change in social relationships, sense of purpose and mental health, which can have a major impact on your emotional wellness. 

Look at how improving emotional wellness can affect these three areas of your life:

  1. Relationships. When you interact with others, it’s important to understand you have varying perspectives about a variety of situations. You may disagree with a family member or friend, and in order to maintain these relationships, it’s essential you deal with your emotions in a calm and appropriate manner. The more support, care and respect you can offer a relationship, the happier and healthier it will be.
  1. Sense of purpose. Whether you’re near retirement or a few years into your journey, deciding what to do with your time is still important. Knowing how you feel about the future, dealing with your emotions and being able to move forward into retirement with a positive mindset will lead to a better sense of purpose and more satisfaction with your retirement. 
  1. Mental health. Emotional health is just one part of your overall mental health. Having a better ability to identify your emotions can improve how your mind processes negative and positive situations, which leads to higher self-esteem, decreased stress and improved critical thinking skills. A recent study has shown, critical thinking skills have been linked to reduced impulsivity and lower risk of mental health challenges. 

Taking on the day with a positive attitude can also give you more energy, help you maintain focus and think more clearly. While it may seem that you have an unlimited amount of energy to dedicate towards your emotions, negative feelings can actually be physically draining. 

Tips on How to Maintain Your Emotional Wellness

Many studies have shown older adults have more positive and fewer negative emotional experiences than younger people, because they are better able to predict which emotions they may feel in certain situations. This leads to an increased ability to avoid stressful situations. 
However, a recent study shows the COVID-19 pandemic has caused some seniors prolonged stress, and reduced their ability to avoid situations that are likely to cause negative emotions. Read these five tips from our experts at Edgewood Summit on how to maintain your emotional wellness and keep your retirement brimming with positivity. 

  1. Check in with your neighbors and friends. Connecting with your loved ones is beneficial to your overall health, not just your emotional health. Schedule some quality time with your friends and neighbors. At our senior living community in Charleston, WV, the residents are truly what make retirement remarkable. Whether it’s a casual conversation or a football watch party, there are abundant ways to stay social at Edgewood Summit.
  1. Indulge in self-care. Even small acts of self-care can have a big impact on your emotional wellness. Getting a haircut, quick spa services and scheduling regular times to pursue your interests are all ways to treat yourself with much-needed rest and relaxation. 
  1. Exercise. Physical activity decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety, which are both associated with many negative emotions. Set a goal for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day, and see your overall health improve significantly. At Edgewood Summit, we offer group fitness classes, beautiful walking paths and a fully equipped fitness center so our residents can easily keep a daily exercise routine.
  1. Practice mindfulness. Staying mindful and being present in the moment helps you notice your thoughts and emotions, which is key to improving emotional health. Breathing techniques when you’re feeling frustrated or anxious and meditation are both great ways to practice mindfulness. 
  1. Seek fulfillment. Having a job is not the only way to have a sense of fulfillment. Something as simple as caring for a pet, volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about or helping friends and neighbors in need can also help you achieve an incredible sense of fulfillment. At our retirement communityin Charleston, WV., residents find contentment through a variety of opportunities to volunteer, attending devotional services and support groups, or by simply spending time with their four-legged neighbors in our dog park.

Celebrate Emotional Wellness at Edgewood Summit

October is Emotional Wellness Month! Celebrate by scheduling an in-person tour of Edgewood Summit, Kanawha Valley’s only continuing care retirement community (CCRC). Come chat with our friendly residents, discover the many wellness opportunities, join an activity or enjoy a delicious meal at one of our dining venues. No matter how you spend your time in our independent living community, you’ll find refreshing ways to enrich your retirement!