After a long and hard day, sometimes all we need is a bit of time to ourselves to relieve stress. But for others who experience anxiety disorders, a single bad day can extend into a whole week, month, and even an entire year. This is why it’s essential to be proactive about our older loved ones’ mental wellness and provide them with guidance to help them achieve a healthy life.
According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), disorders associated with anxiety are the most common source of mental illness in the country, affecting 40 million adults every year. Some of these disorders include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or a specific phobia. If your older loved ones feel as though they are dealing with too much stress, there are a few ways to help them with reducing their stress and alleviate their worries and anxieties.
Making healthy food choices
Not everyone may realize it, but our diet and stress levels are closely related. If your older loved one has become anxious after a long day, be sure to provide them with wholesome foods rather than a sugary snack. While fruits and vegetables are the usual foods we think of for healthy eating, try to include some fish in their menu. In an article by David Mischoulon, MD, PhD in the Harvard Health Blog, he states that eating fish for their omega-3 fatty acids may have a potential benefit for individuals with mood disorders.
Deep breathing is a powerful yet effortless technique to achieve a sense of relaxation. Deep-breathing meditation focuses on our breathing and helps clear our minds of all harmful and stressful thoughts. It’s straightforward; all you need to do is sit with your back straight and make sure that you’re comfortably seated. Then breathe in slowly through the nose and breathe out from the mouth. Encouraging your older loved one to participate in meditation may just be what he or she needs to get rid of stress.
Listen to music
If you see that your older loved one is overwhelmed, encourage them to sit back and enjoy listening to music. Music is known to reduce the hormone cortisol (which is linked to stress) and has a calming effect on people. Furthermore, it can lower our blood pressure, so have them listen to something soothing, such as nature sounds and ocean waves. Be sure to ask them to close their eyes, and picture another relaxing day in retirement.
Join a class or club
To avoid becoming more vulnerable to loneliness, isolation, and depression, older adults are encouraged to participate in various social activities. Maintaining relationships and staying social are essential factors in our loved one’s mental health. If they reside in a retirement community, encourage them to attend a fitness class or join a book club. This will not just benefit them socially but will also improve their well-being overall.
While it may be hard to manage at first, reducing stress in seniors isn’t impossible. With various options to choose from, our older loved ones will surely be able to select a solution that works for their personality, needs, and interests. For more information on how you can help them cope with stress, check out our Blue Zones Motivated Living guide. But if you’re looking for options on senior living communities or would like more details on your options, visit our website.