5 Tips to Help Seniors Manage Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can manifest itself in many ways. It’s especially important for seniors to have a plan for managing stress as it can lead to a host of health issues down the road. Depression, insomnia, headaches, heart issues as well as overall happiness are all dictated by our ability to manage stress.
With a few helpful tips you can navigate your way through life's ups and downs.
Even before the pandemic, many seniors suffered from health issues brought on by stressful events and realities. Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, your friends at Comfort Keepers Toledo are sharing five tips to manage stress and anxiety in order to maintain a healthy outlook as we age.
Know the Signs
One of the most important things you can do to manage stress in your life is to know the signs. Feeling sad, lonely and sometimes hopeless are all natural parts of aging. Still, there are clear warning signs. If you aren’t eating right, lose your desire to exercise or stay active, resist social activities or conversations with friends and families, you need to think about the core reasons.
These self-defeating, negative behaviors are often rooted in our mental health and need to be addressed before they affect our overall wellbeing. We can’t avoid the lows, but if we’re aware of the signs, we’ll know when it’s time to seek help.
Where to Start
Once you realize your stress and anxiety is having a dangerous impact on your health, what should you do? First, it’s a good idea to talk with your physician and caregiver. Let them know how you’re feeling and when it started. A care plan can be developed to help you nurture your way out of the quagmire that can result from stress and anxiety.
Second, move your body. Go for a walk and center your daily regime around a healthy diet. Of course, diets rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy protein are a good start, but it doesn’t hurt to treat yourself now and again. A sweet treat like chocolate, a modest piece of pie, or any of your favorites are fine in moderation. A large part of a successful self-care routine is not depriving yourself while finding healthy habits that you can actually enjoy.
Your exercise doesn’t have to be over-the-top. Simple relaxation activities like meditation and mindful yoga go a long way to give you peace of mind.
Do What Brings You Joy
Another great mechanism to help cope with stress is music. Surely, you find solace in listening to your local classical and big band music station, but what about creating music yourself? You don’t have to pick a complicated instrument to play, rather start with something easy.
For instance, a ukulele is inexpensive, easy to learn and fun to play. A harmonica is another consideration. Many families have pianos in their homes and that’s another fairly easy instrument to create relaxing sounds with. Singing songs you like is also fun and a good way to exercise your anxiety. Singing is also a great activity to do with your loved ones.
If music isn’t your kind of hobby, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Find one that brings you joy.
Words of Inspiration
Reading can be a great source of relaxation and escape. Many seniors find history and biographies highly enjoyable to read. Think about themes that you are interested in -- cooking, sports, outdoor activities -- and find books that revolve around these activities. If you are personally interested in an activity, event or person, reading about it is very enjoyable.
Don’t forget about audiobooks! They are accessible through platforms like Audible and you can listen to them while doing other activities.
In fact, you can take it another level by writing something yourself. It doesn’t have to be a complicated novel -- although that is fine too. A simple daily journal of your goals, gratitude, and memories is fun and simple to do.
Learning to Live, Living to Learn
Finally, think about learning something new. Consider taking a class -- painting, writing, gardening or something else you’ve always wanted to try or learn more about. Many classes are available online. If you would like more socialization, consider a class at your local college or school.
Learning is also a great cognitive activity to keep your brain healthy. Mental and behavioral health are key to a life with less stress and more enjoyment.
Lean on a Comfort Keeper
At Comfort Keepers, we believe that mental health is unquestionably tied to physical health. We developed our Head-to-Toe Guide to Seniors’ Mental Health and Well-Being Guide to bring together the resources you need to help your loved one feel their happiest and healthiest.
Contact us today to discuss your family’s needs.