Everyone is affected, to some degree, by stress in their lives. While the production of stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine, and adrenaline, are necessary in times of danger, when left too long in our system, they can result in health conditions such as headaches, insomnia, and high blood pressure.
Thankfully, there are a few simple things you can do that help relieve stress. Whether you’re a senior or are providing senior care for a loved one, here are some suggestions for stress reduction.
Not only is exercise great for the mind and body, but it can help reduce stress as well. A good workout increases the production of mood-boosting endorphins while limiting the level of stress hormones in your body. Make sure that you and/or your senior care loved one engage in 20 to 30 minutes of light exercise every day.
2. Connecting With Others
We are social animals. Without the company and comfort of others, a person can be depressed as stress levels mount. Studies have shown, however, that an activity as simple as a hug releases oxytocin in your system while limiting cortisol levels. Be sure to schedule social time with friends and family on a regular basis to help reduce stress.
Few things impact a person’s mood like music. Listening to a slow, classical composition, for example, slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure. It can also foster better sleeping habits, leading to less stressful and more energetic days.
Engaging in artistic endeavors allows your mind to focus, relieving you from anxious and stressful thoughts. Finishing a painting or a sculpture will help boost your mood, but you can achieve the same result if you’re not as artistically inclined by filling out an adult coloring book or completing a jigsaw puzzle.
5. A Healthy Diet
Maintaining a good diet is imperative for stress reduction. Avoid drinking too much coffee, and reduce your intake of sugary foods or foods that are high in refined carbohydrates like potato chips and bread. Instead, focus on stress-reducing foods such as dark chocolate, salmon, yogurt, eggs, almonds, and walnuts.
6. Deep Breathing
There are several deep breathing techniques that help reduce stress. One is to breathe deeply and slowly through your nose, hold for a second, then exhale slowly through your mouth. By repeating this exercise for three to five minutes per day, you can cut back on your stress hormone levels.
Laughter truly is one of the best medicines. When you laugh, you’re taking in oxygen-rich air while exercising your muscles, lungs, and heart. It’s amazing how something as easy as watching a funny movie can lower the amount of stress in your life.
Getting older is tough, but you can do a lot to lessen the amount of stress that comes with it by practicing these seven simple habits.