What is causing your stress? Is it health issues, money woes, memory problems, or trouble sleeping? Many seniors deal with feelings of stress, frustration, and anxiety on a regular basis - this can lead to not only various medical ailments, but the loss of appetite, chronic pain, social isolation, and depression.
The good news? There are many ways to relieve stress in your life and embrace a new enthusiasm that prevents those feelings in the first place. Start building your stress and mental health plan today with:
Exercise: Get a jump on fighting off feelings of stress with a plan for staying active and exercising. Getting out and about, moving your body, stretching your muscles and joints, and interacting with others are all surefire ways to help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
- Routine physical fitness produces loads of health benefits that prevent heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, and certain types of cancer - illnesses which all come with their own wave of stresses.
- Exercise boosts blood circulation and helps alleviates back pain and inflammation which can be associated with muscle tension caused by chronic stress.
- Scientists have found further evidence that long term routine activity cues the human brain to produce endorphins, a hormone that helps promote positive feelings and moods.
- Staying active encourages seniors to get out of the house and interact with others which helps combat stressful feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
Helping Others: Positively impacting the life of another person has transformative powers and in some studies has been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce feelings of stress. Many charitable organizations love having retirees as volunteers because their passion for helping others is strong and their flexible schedules allow for them to regularly commit to volunteer shifts.
Contact your local food bank, animal shelter or hospital to ask about their volunteer programs. Don’t forget! If you are unable to get out of the house to volunteer, there are great ways for you to pitch in from the comfort of your own home. You can tutor a young student for free via Skype, knit or crochet blankets for the local homeless shelter, or even bake a sweet treat for a friend or caregiver.
A Daily Schedule: As seniors age, a day to day schedule can be vital to addressing the anxiety that comes with “not knowing what’s next.” A set agenda for daily activities, from waking up, dressing and brushing teeth to taking medicine, eating meals, and going to bed, not only provides structure and stability to a senior’s day, but helps you plan your day yourself and make confident decisions.
Prioritizing time for physical activity and exercise each day in your schedule also leads to getting a better night’s sleep. When you are well-rested, mood swings and stress associated with fatigue float away, and you feel more active and productive all day.
Saving Money: The topic of money at any age can be stressful. If retirement doesn’t have you cruising year-round, chances are tight budgets or financial problems, especially associated with your healthcare, can be causing you major stress. Is it possible to save money as a senior and stress less? Absolutely.
- Downsizing your home or simply selling gently used items you have collected over your years can help supplement income and pad your retirement fund.
- Pumping up your pocket cash with part-time work like online tutoring, pet sitting, gardening, or selling your own crafts and art can build confidence and your bank account.
- Renting out space in your home, like a room or a garage apartment, is a bigger commitment that can have an even larger payoff.
Self-care: It’s easy to lose yourself as you age especially if you’re providing care for a spouse or relative, if you’re still working, or if you are dealing with health issues. Setting aside time to focus on taking care of you is often a first step to dealing with stress and frustration.
Self-care should be simple, relaxing and focused on you - try activities like yoga and meditation, getting a massage, decluttering spaces where you spend a lot of time, and even simply finding a few times a day to play, laugh, and be goofy with your partner or friends.
The prolific Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Aging happily is a great thing. Even the smallest achievements should be celebrated as you age, and facing each day with that enthusiasm and self-love can help reduce stress and alleviate feelings of anxiety. So what are you waiting for?