Retired, older adults might seem like carefree individuals without an ounce of worry in life. However, seniors still have their fair share of triggers that causes them to feel stressed out.
In fact, seniors feel stress more overwhelmingly than younger individuals due to contributing factors, like aging and health conditions. Some telltale signs that you or your loved one is experiencing stress are as follows:
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- Sudden mood swings, like irritability and loneliness
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Social isolation and disinterest in activities
Don’t let your stress worsen and control your life. Here are ten helpful ways to relieve stress while residing in your senior living community in Winston-Salem.
1. Get Moving
An exercise is a form of physical stress that, surprisingly, helps combat and reduce your mental stress! Studies show that regular exercise improves your mood, lowers stress hormones, and makes you feel good.
Additionally, it also makes you mentally healthy, which allows you to handle stressful situations in a healthy way. Some senior-friendly aerobic exercises include:
- Walking, jogging, and cycling
- Swimming and other water exercises
Engaging in regular physical activity (20 to 30 minutes daily) allows you to reap its long-term stress-relieving benefits.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet
Conquer stress by filling your body with nutritious and energy-boosting foods. Consume your meals on time and make sure it includes a healthy balance of fruits, veggies, and lean meat.
Instead of munching on sugary comfort foods, you can eat these healthy, stress-relieving foods:
- Fatty fish and shellfish
- Swiss chard and broccoli
- Chamomile tea
- Sweet potatoes
3. Get Enough Rest
Seniors who do not get the right amount of sleep (eight to nine hours) are more likely to be affected by stress than those who always get a good night’s sleep.
Sleep deprivation increases your irritability and affects your mood. Furthermore, it negatively influences your ability to handle stress, making simple triggers an overwhelmingly stressful event for you.
So do yourself a favor and get your much-needed rest every night.
4. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption
Besides eating a well-balanced diet, you should also limit your consumption of food and products that do nothing but aggravate stress and anxiety. This includes foods containing caffeine (coffee, tea, soda, chocolate) and alcohol.
These two will only heighten the stress you feel, causing you to experience it more intensely than it really is. Plus, caffeinated foods can disrupt your healthy sleeping pattern and increase your anxiousness.
5. Have a “Me Time”
Take a break from your busy schedule and enjoy the time you have in your senior living community in Winston-Salem. Make sure to participate in activities that are both enjoyable and stress-relieving, such as:
- Simple exercises like walking and swimming.
- Gardening and cooking
- Arts and crafts
- Spa, massage, and salon treatment.
- Nature field trips, like a picnic in the park or hiking.
- Binge-watch a favorite movie or read your well-loved paperback.
Doing something you love, no matter how simple it is, brings out your “happy hormones” and helps put you in a good mood.
6. Talk About Your Feelings
Physical interventions against stress can only do so much. Ultimately, you will need to reinforce it with techniques that deal with the emotional side of stress.
For instance, opening up to someone and talking about your feelings can significantly help you feel better almost instantly. Voicing out your worries will immediately make it less heavy and painful.
After unloading your burden to your trusted person, you might even realize that it’s not much of a problem that needs solving to begin with. You can open up to a friend, a loved one, a counselor, or a psychologist.
7. Stay Socially Connected
Do not forget to spend time with your family and friends. Having strong social ties with quality people can help you rise above stressful situations. They might not have the answer to all your worries, but they can undoubtedly support you through it.
Moreover, seniors need strong relationships and social support now more than ever. It decreases your likelihood of falling into social isolation and mental health illnesses like depression.
8. Do Breathing Techniques
Another way to physically deal with stress is to learn breathing techniques that can help lower your stress immediately.
Doing some deep breathing exercises will help in reducing tension by letting your mind relax. This is because deep breathing sends a message to your brain that it’s time to calm down.
A quick technique is to do belly breathings wherein you inhale deeply through your nose and exhale it slowly through the mouth. Put your hand on your stomach, then focus your mind on the rise and fall of your chest and belly as you breathe. Do this exercise three to ten times.
You will notice that your mind is clearer now and a lot less stressed out by the end of it.
9. Practice Meditation
Meditation is a simple solution to reduce your stress and anxiousness. You can do it anywhere and every day, even when you are not in a stressful situation. Some types of meditation you can practice in your senior living community in Winston-Salem include:
- Yoga and tai-chi
- Mindfulness meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- The use of motivational phrases and mantras.
Besides lowering your mental stress, it also aids in enhancing your memory and other cognitive functions. Moreover, regularly meditating benefits your heart health and blood circulation.
For beginners, it would be best to engage in meditation together with an expert instructor.
10. Know Your Stressors
Put an end to your chronic stress and anxiety by identifying your triggers or stressors. A trigger can be a specific situation, place, name, word, or memory. Knowing these things can help you avoid them while working on how to handle them better.
You can seek out a psychologist or psychiatrist that can assist you in gradually moving past the fear and stress you feel when presented with your stressors. With proper guidance, you will eventually learn how to eliminate these stressors and remove their power over you.