When most people think of retirement, they picture long, relaxing days filled with endless possibilities to enjoy their time. However, even though you may not have to worry about being a part of the rat race anymore, seniors still experience various forms of stress in their lives. After all, you’re adapting to a totally new way of life, and you may be uncertain at first if you’re financially ready or how you’ll fill your days. Or, maybe you’re facing escalating health issues or the loss of close friends and loved ones.
While we all deal with stress from time to time, as you get older, it may become increasingly difficult to cope with it. That’s why it’s more important than ever to ensure you have some stress management techniques in place so you can continue enjoying a high quality of life.
Seniors’ bodies deal with stress differently than those of younger people. In stressful situations, the brain reacts by releasing potentially harmful hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, naturally shutting them down when the levels get too high. In the short term, these hormones provide a boost of energy and focus, but over time, too much of them can negatively affect your health. In older adults, issues like high blood pressure, heart disease, a weakened immune system and even trouble with memory and cognition can occur when you feel stressed for extended periods of time.
Some of the most common signs of stress in seniors include:
Continue to take pleasure in every moment, whether you’re simply thinking about retiring in the near future or are recently retired and getting used to your new way of life. Here are a few stress management techniques and tips all seniors should follow:
Address the cause. The first step in lowering your stress levels is to identify what’s causing your stress in the first place. Write it down, talk to someone and think of different ways to get past it.
Make healthy lifestyle choices. If you’re taking good care of yourself by exercising, eating nutritious foods and getting a restful night’s sleep, your mind, body and soul naturally get revived. Exercise is also a known mood-booster, so aim to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes every day.
Switch up your routine. Sometimes, simply taking a break from the norm can lower your stress levels. Take a morning walk, try a new dish at your favorite restaurant, experiment with a new hobby, or go window shopping with a friend.
Do some meditating. Meditation not only provides stress relief, but it can also help prevent future stress. No special equipment is required to meditate beside a quiet space with no distractions. Practice deep breathing until your stress disappears and you feel calm once again.
Laugh it off. As they say, laughter is the best medicine! A good sense of humor can go a long way in reducing your stress levels. Take time to relax with friends, watch a funny movie, read a humorous book, or have your grandkids tell you their favorite jokes.
Advent Christian Village’s senior living community offers a country setting with a scenic view of the Suwannee River, sure to lower your stress levels. You’ll find a variety of maintenance-free independent living options along with a continuum of care to provide future peace of mind, plus plenty of opportunities for personal growth. Contact us to schedule a tour or to request more information.