8 Min Read
Managing Stress as You Age
Post-retirement age may be thought of as a time full of relaxation and downtime, but there are many stressors associated with aging. Health problems, separation from friends and family, financial concerns, and many more can contribute to stress for seniors. That stress can take a toll on your body, increasing the risk of heart disease, heartburn, high blood pressure, and more. Try these tips to help manage stress as you age.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that allows you to be fully focused on your environment and how you’re feeling in the moment. It includes breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices that help your mind and body relax.
Physical activity of all kinds can help relieve stress. There are many benefits of exercise for seniors, including increased lung capacity, bone density, and brain health. Being active can boost the production of endorphins in your brain, making you feel happier. It can increase self-confidence, improve your mood, help you relax, and lower symptoms of anxiety and depression. Exercise also aids sleep, which is often disrupted by stress.
You should be getting at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, such as brisk walking. Remember to build your fitness level gradually. Doing too much too fast can lead to injury. Always talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
Maintaining strong social connections can help reduce stress for seniors. Friends, family, and loved ones are important resources to help with difficulties, share news with, or simply vent to. Sometimes being able to share your feelings and talk about your stressors helps ease feelings of stress.
Although face-to-face interaction is nice, it’s not always possible. Calling or video chatting can help keep you connected. If they’re able, encourage your loved ones to schedule a visit where you can go for a walk or do other stress-relieving activities together.
Listen to Music
Music can be an escape for many, but there’s actually scientific proof that it can help you fight stress. Listening to soothing music has been shown to reduce stress, pain, anxiety, and insomnia symptoms.
Choose music with a calming pace including classical, light jazz, and stringed tunes. Nature soundtracks can also be peaceful to listen to and promote relaxation. When you feel overwhelmed, turn on some tunes and focus on the beat of the music.
Try Something New
Following the same routine every day can get boring and make you feel stressed or antsy. Try switching your day up by doing something out of the ordinary. Get up early and take a walk to watch the sunrise, try a new meal, attend a class you’ve never gone to before, or watch a movie or show you never would have picked before. Sometimes, something as simple as switching your daily routine can make you feel less overwhelmed.
Diets lacking nutritional density can contribute to stress levels. A balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains supports a healthy immune system and the repair of damaged cells. Foods that contain omega-3 fats have been shown to help regulate stress levels.
Above all else, avoid sugar. Too much sugar is not only bad for your physical health—increasing your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more—it’s bad for your mental health, worsening anxiety, depression, and stress levels.
We Can Help
At Grand Oaks, we’re committed to providing healthy food and activity options for our residents, helping them live their healthiest, most stress-free life. Learn more about our unique care by contacting us today.