At any age and stage of life, we all face situations that increase our stress levels. Whether it's a change, a family member dealing with a difficult situation, or health concerns, we will need to manage our stress in order to maintain our health and well-being.
Stress can affect each of us differently: headaches, fatigue, stomach upset, and sleep problems are just a few symptoms. Stress manifests itself in ways we cannot and should not ignore, and seniors in particular are vulnerable to the ill effects.
At Montereau, we work hard to provide our residents everything they need for a relaxed and enjoyable retirement. We have thoughtfully designed our lifestyle programming with wellness, dining, exercise, and social activities in mind. Here are 10 ways we encourage seniors to reduce stress so they can live their best lives:
- Exercise. Whether you enjoy going for a walk or working out with a trainer, movement offers many benefits, including stress relief. Activity can help release stress, improve your mood and give your energy a boost.
- Nature. A breath of fresh air and the beauty of the great outdoors can do wonders for your spirits. However you like to enjoy nature, you can lower your stress by spending time outside.
- Gratitude. When negative thoughts begin to swirl, turn your mind to the positive aspects of your life. Consider beginning a gratitude journal where you write down what you are grateful for each day. Some people find it helpful to do this at the end of the day to focus their thoughts on the positive before going to sleep.
- Sleep. Speaking of sleep, adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep a night. To get the best sleep possible, avoid caffeine late in the day, try to go to bed around the same time each night, and enjoy some relaxing activities before bedtime, such as reading.
- Relax. Train your body to relax using techniques such as deep breathing, tai chi, yoga, meditation, exercise or prayer.
- Breathe. Learn to stop and be mindful of your breathing. There are many apps and smart watches that offer guidance, but the simplest method is called box breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. Breathe out through your mouth for a count of four. Hold for a count of four. It slows you and allows you to breathe more deeply. If box breathing isn't for you, find a technique that works for you.
- Friends. Spend time with people you enjoy. Choose friends who bring out the best in you and encourage positive thinking. Consider joining a club or class that allows you to spend time together on a regular basis. For faraway friends, make a practice of calling regularly.
- Laugh. Laughter really is good medicine. Whether it's a good belly laugh or a bout of giggles, laughter has numerous good health effects. Get together with friends and play a funny game, watch a comedy on television and learn to tell a good joke.
- Eat well. Good nutrition helps give your life balance and fuels your body for all of the positive activities listed here.
- Give back. Consider how you can make a positive impact on the world. Volunteer in a place that allows you to use your gifts and continue to grow.