Everyone experiences stress from all walks of life. A teenager can encounter stress during a math test at school, a young adult during their first job interview, and a senior’s first move to their assisted living apartments.
No one is immune to stress. But many people, especially the young ones, have a strong tolerance to stress and do not get affected easily by its consequences. However, as you age, you become more and more vulnerable to stress. You won’t be able to cope as quickly as you did when you were younger.
In fact, research showed that older people have less resilience to stress, causing them to be more affected by it. This is because of numerous physical and mental age-related changes happening to your body, such as:
- Declining cell and organ health causing the body to have a lower stress response.
- Mental and cognitive deterioration due to age.
- Brain cells have a hard time regulating stress hormones.
- Gradually becoming emotionally vulnerable due to emotional traumas (e.g., losing a loved one or family problems.
- An underlying health condition that interferes with your ability to cope with everyday stresses.
- Mental health problems like depression and anxiety disorder.
If unaddressed, chronic stress has a tremendously negative impact on your overall health. It will damage your mental and emotional well-being first, but gradually, it will affect your physical health and cause many health conditions. This includes obesity, high blood pressure, heart problems, and a weakened immune system.
5 Ways Seniors Can Cope With Stress
Medically, stress is the body’s “fight or flight” response, which allows a person to adapt, act fast, and survive in dangerous situations.
However, it becomes a problem when it happens and lasts more than it should to the point of affecting your ability to function normally in life. Some of the tell-tale signs of unhealthy stress include:
- Irritability and persistent mood swings.
- Insomnia or abnormal sleeping patterns.
- Becoming socially withdrawn from friends.
- Becoming uninterested in once-loved activities.
- Loss of appetite or overeating causing an unhealthy weight gain or loss.
- Poor concentration, judgment, and memory problems.
To help you regain control of your life, here are five simple stress management techniques you can apply to cope with stress.
1. Know Your Stress Triggers
The first course of action is to identify your stressors. What kind of situation stresses you out? Does a memory or a person trigger your stress?
Knowing the primary cause of this tension allows you to avoid, remove, or think of a way to get past it. Now, identifying your triggers can be a bit challenging, especially since there’s always more than one trigger for every person.
Look back to the events that caused you too much stress and think about why it happened. Write it down, then think of ways on how you can overcome it. Also, it won’t hurt to seek professional help when it comes to managing your stress.
2. Stay Active
Exercising may be the last thing you have on your mind when it comes to controlling stress. But according to research, regular aerobic workouts are a natural mood booster and stress reducer.
Moreover, it has tons of positive impacts on the cognitive function and mental health of the brain. Health experts recommend seniors commit 20 to 30 minutes of their mornings to exercise to help reduce their stress.
Some of the best low-impact physical activities you can try while residing in the best assisted living apartments include:
- Cardio exercises like walking, swimming, and jogging in your outdoor space.
- Using the treadmill or bicycle machine.
- Taking an online exercise class with fellow residents.
- Zumba classes or dancing.
Stress is often caused by an intense feeling of fear or worry for the unknown. What better way to erase your jumbled thoughts and irrational fears than by meditating?
You can practice meditation in many ways, but most of it has the same elements that allow an individual to relax and eliminate stress. This includes:
- A quiet setting and a comfortable position.
- Practicing simple breathing techniques for relaxation.
- Focusing the attention on a specific object, mantra, or your breathing.
- An open attitude.
Meditating helps relax your body and guide your mind towards a calm state. Additionally, it lets you perceive your stresses from a new and positive perspective. Also, it allows you to focus on the present and improve your self-awareness.
Meditation techniques, like yoga and mindfulness, won’t magically get rid of your stress. But it will definitely help you cope with it and react to it in a healthy and rational way.
4. Create a Strong Support System
Learn how to talk about your feelings and emotions to a trusted loved one. Seek help when you need it because there’s nothing better than having another shoulder to cry on during stressful times.
Furthermore, having someone you can talk to about your problems already relieves the intense stress you’re feeling. Suddenly, it is not so big and scary anymore.
So, build social connections and stay socially connected with your loved ones. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than a trusted friend or family member who will listen to your worries without judgment.
5. Take a Break
Is it possible that you are stressed out because you are biting off more than you can chew? If that’s the case, then you need to slow down and take a break. Have some much-needed “me time” from your schedule every now and then. Don’t let the week end without doing something that you genuinely enjoy.
It may be as simple as staying in and binge-watching your favorite movie or mingling with your neighbors from your assisted living apartments. You can do anything you want as long as it relaxes you and lets you have fun.
It would also help to find a hobby or pursue something you are passionate about. It can be gardening, cooking, or writing. Doing something you love helps reduce your stress levels and puts you in a good mood.