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4 Ways to improve your mental health

It’s no secret that the last couple of years have been pretty rough for many, and to be honest, all of us in one way or another. From the loss of jobs, to isolating for weeks on end, to losing loved ones and those dearest to us. That’s why now more than ever it is important that we prioritise self-care and we make time to improve our mental health and wellbeing.

The NHS has identified there are some key steps you can take to improve your mental health, so let’s take a look at each of those, and how we at ExtraCare will be able to help you.

1. Physical activity

It has been proven time and time again that physical activity helps the body release feel good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy. The hormone released is called cortisol which helps us manage stress and reduces the risk of depression. Not only this, but also make you sleep better at night. Good sleep = good day.

2. Learn new skills

Research suggests that adults need to keep not only their bodies active, but their minds active as well. Learning a new skill can improve cognitive functioning, slow down ageing and improve your overall mental wellbeing. This is why in our retirement villages we try to get as many of our residents as possible to engage in a new activity. Whether that be woodwork, the gym, arts and crafts, anything, and the feedback of what it’s done for them is always tremendous!

Read how Barry Wilcox at Hagley Road Village has swapped the tv for the gym.

3. Acts of giving and kindness

Studies have also shown that acts of giving to others and kind gestures could be the key to improving your mental wellbeing. This helps create positive feelings, a sense of reward, and gives you a feeling of purpose and self-worth.

It could be small or random act of kindness, or larger ones like volunteering in your local community. Within all our retirement villages and charity shops we heavily encourage volunteering for this exact reason. Volunteering is at the heart of what we do, with our volunteers playing a key part in helping us to create better lives for older people. This gives many a great sense of fulfilment, ultimately improving their mental health.

4. Connect with other people

Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing, and there are lots of things you could try to help build stronger and closer relationships:

  • Take time each day to be with your family e.g. have a meal together
  • Switch off the tv and play a game with friends and family
  • Go for lunch with a colleague
  • Facetime a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while
  • Volunteer at a charity shop or somewhere within the local community


Why volunteer for The ExtraCare Charitable Trust?

  • You can make a difference to our residents’ lives by getting involved in our inspirational communities or helping our charity shops effectively
  • You can gain skills and experience to enhance your CV or help you to progress into paid work or further education
  • You can enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits associated with volunteering
  • You can meet people and make new friends
  • Click here to find exciting volunteering opportunities in your area and take the first step into improving your mental health today!

The below video shows Joy Allen, a volunteer at ExtraCare’s Leighton Buzzard Charity Shop. Joy tells us how volunteering at the shop has improved her communication skills and helped her to gain more confidence.

Joy Allen – Charity Shop Volunteer at Leighton Buzzard