8 Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Mental health is an essential part of overall wellness and deserves your attention.

senior on bean bag with dog

Even though we all know the benefit of wellness visits, eye exams, and other types of preventive care, it’s just as important to focus on mental health. Think of taking care of your mental health as preventive care for your mind. Stress, anxiety, or depression can cause physical problems. But when you’re able to think, feel, and act your best, you can cope with life’s ups and downs, build strong relationships, make good choices, be productive, and feel happier.

If you want some getting started, here are eight ways to improve your mental health:

Mental Health Tip #1: Talk things out

Life is full of stressors, from everyday annoyances to experiences that can rock our worlds. When something’s troubling you, don’t hold it in. Often, just talking through it with someone you trust can make you feel better and help you see things more clearly. If you don’t have someone in your life you feel comfortable speaking with, a licensed mental health professional can be an excellent option. Find more information about SCAN’s mental health benefits.

Mental Health Tip #2: Live in the moment

Worrying over things that you can’t control in the past or in an unpredictable future can be stressful and dangerous to your mental and physical health. Make mindfulness part of your daily routine through simple meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Just a few minutes a day can help you relax, clear your mind, and keep stress at healthy levels.

Mental Health Tip #3: Take care of your body

Like your body’s other organs, your brain needs nutrients to function at its best. So feed it with a wholesome diet. And just as exercise can keep your body in good working order, regular physical activity is one of the quickest ways to boost feelings of self-esteem, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve sleep, and generally help you feel better.

A One Pass gym benefit is included in most SCAN Medicare Advantage plans. There are lots of health club options, from women-only and YMCAs to large chains and local specialty locations. And that’s not all: You’ll find a wide variety of on-demand classes you can do from the comfort of your home.

Mental Health Tip #4: Exercise your brain

Another way to help your mental well-being is exercising your mind with engaging activities like jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, or model building—think ship in a bottle! In addition to being fun, they also stimulate your brain by activating areas involved in problem solving and memory.

It’s great to have your favorite activity, but it’s also recommended to add variety, so try something new and challenging. A new puzzle or activity can keep things fresh. You can support your brain even more by involving other people. Social interaction is great for memory and your overall mental health.

Mental Health Tip #5: Stay connected

Social connections can help improve outlook and self-esteem, foster a sense of purpose, and prevent loneliness. There are plenty of ways to stay connected, so find what works best for you. Take a class at the gym, volunteer for a cause you care about, or join an online community.

Try to set aside time each day to do something you enjoy, and add in social interactions. Check our Events page for the next Coffee & Conversation or other events that appeal to you.

Mental Health Tip #6: Ask about mental health services at your next doctor’s visit

If a mental health issue interferes with your daily life for more than a couple of days, call your doctor. Your doctor can help you identify your risk factors for mental health concerns. With your doctor’s advice, you can find out what symptoms to look for, steps you can take to reduce your risk, and treatment options, if needed.

Mental Health Tip #7: Look for a mental health service that fits your needs

If your doctor recommends it’s time to see a mental health professional, remember you have options. All SCAN plans include access to mental health services, and many include access to behavioral telehealth. So, if you’re not ready to meet with someone in person, you can choose to meet with someone from your home on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Telehealth appointments are available within a few days, and you have a variety of specialists based on your personal needs.

Mental Health Tip #8: Use your resources

SCAN knows the importance of mental health and offers its Medicare Advantage plan members several unique extra mental health benefits. Here are a couple of the benefits that SCAN offers:

  • Learning Communities bring together SCAN members who have similar interests and hobbies. The groups meet mostly online for social events and classes. Find out what’s coming up at
  • Friendly Callers match a SCAN member with a SCAN employee for regular phone calls. If you are or know a SCAN member who has limited ability to leave their home and may enjoy a social chat, email or call SCAN Member Services.
  • HEALTHtech, a no-cost technical support service, can help you set up a virtual appointment with a mental health provider—or help you with another health-related tech need. The team at HEALTHtech is just a phone call away, 24/7: 1-833-437-0555 (TTY: 711).

If you feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel you want to harm yourself or others, don’t wait; call 911 or one of these free and confidential crisis hotlines immediately:

  • Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988
  • Friendship Line (specifically for older adults in CA): 1-800-971-0016

Find more information on the SCAN website, including how to use your mental health services benefit.

If you don’t have a Medicare Advantage plan, take a look at the benefits, comprehensive coverage, award-winning service, and more offered by SCAN Health Plan.

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