Contrary to popular belief, retirement doesn’t automatically get rid of all your problems. Aging comes with its own challenges, many of which can create a lot of stress for senior citizens.
While stress is a part of life, it doesn’t have to take over your life. It’s important for seniors to learn to manage new stressors appropriately so that they can avoid the negative effects that chronic stress can have on their health.
If you’re getting older and aren’t sure how to manage the curveballs life is throwing at you, read on to learn about four simple ways to effectively manage stress.
Why Should Seniors Learn to Manage Stress
Stress is problematic for people of all ages, but seniors, in particular, may find that it affects them more now than it did when they were younger. Seniors often find that they don’t respond as well to stress as they once did, and this can be a tough pill to swallow.
Some of the specific ways that stress affects seniors differently include:
The body heals more slowly from physical stress like a cut or bruise
The body has a harder time recovering from illnesses, even mild ones like colds
It’s harder for the body temperature to adjust
As they age, seniors may also have a harder time regulating levels of stress hormones like cortisol.
When their body is over-producing cortisol, it’s not uncommon for seniors to experience serious health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. For seniors who are already at risk of developing these kinds of illnesses, stress management is especially important.
Best Ways For Seniors to Manage Stress
As you can see, it’s essential for seniors to learn to manage stress in a healthy way. These four strategies are all good option for them to start with.
Meditation can help seniors find relief from stress that they’re currently experiencing, and it can make them more resilient to future stressors. Some of the other benefits that meditation provides for seniors include:
Improved cognition and focus
Reduced feelings of loneliness
Reduced blood pressure
Lower risk of hospitalization and reduced healthcare costs
Some seniors may be hesitant to try meditation because they’re not sure how to begin. The great thing about meditation, though, is that it doesn’t require any fancy props.
To start reaping the benefits of meditation, one simply needs to sit quietly and focus on their breath as it enters and exits the body. Seniors can start experiencing benefits with just five minutes of meditation each day.
2. Challenge Your Mind
Another way to improve cognition and increase resilience to stressors is to spend time each day challenging the mind with crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, and other “brain exercises.”
These activities require a great deal of focus, so they’re perfect for seniors who spend a lot of their time worrying or feeling anxious about things that are outside of their control.
Puzzles and brain exercises are also affordable and easily accessible. They can be picked up at most grocery or convenience stores, and it’s also easy to find free ones online.
3. Look for Ways to Save Money
Financial stress is a major contributor to anxiety and overall stress among senior citizens.
Many seniors are retiring later than they planned and are struggling to make ends meet. To minimize financial stress, it’s important to stick to a budget and look for ways to cut costs.
It can be beneficial to sit down with an accountant or financial advisor to start planning out a budget and finding ways to reduce spending.
Remember, too, that you can enjoy numerous benefits for seniors by taking advantage of the discounts that stores, restaurants, and even travel agencies offer.
4. Play with a Pet
Spending time with a dog, cat, or another pet is a great way for seniors to minimize stress and improve their overall well-being.
For seniors who still live independently, adopting a pet can be a great option, as long as they have the means and physical capacity to care for it. If this isn’t the case for you, you can still benefit by participating in a local pet therapy program.
Many senior centers and senior care communities set aside time each week or month to have therapy animals brought in to visit. Look for events like this in your area to attend and enjoy some time a friendly animal.
Start Managing Stress Today
If you feel like stress is taking over your life, remember that you’re in control. Give these four stress management strategies a try today to stave off the negative effects of stress and improve your quality of life. You’ll be amazed at the difference small changes can make!