The month of August is National Wellness Month, which focuses on promoting healthy routines, stress management and self-care. Research shows that self-care and stress management are important parts of a healthy lifestyle, especially for older adults.
If you are living with high levels of daily stress, it could be putting your health at risk. Stress can cause many health issues and can worsen existing problems. It may feel as though there is nothing that can be done about stress; bills don’t just stop coming, family concerns don’t just disappear and anxiety does not just cure itself because you do not want to be stressed out. However, a focus on total senior wellness and living a balanced life can help to overcome stress and reduce its negative health impacts. To accomplish this, it is important to know what health issues can be caused by stress, how to manage stress and what stress management methods work best for you.
Why Stress Management Is Important
Stress is a normal physical and psychological reaction to the demands of daily life. Stress is like an alarm system in the brain that alerts the body to a threat with a burst of hormones. This causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which is commonly called the fight-or-flight response. When the perceived threat is gone, the body should return to normal functioning and a relaxed state. However, many people experience so many non-stop demands and have such great expectations that their stress alarm systems never shut off.
While a small amount of stress can be fine, higher levels of stress can cause too much physical and mental pressure for anyone to handle and remain healthy. Higher levels of stress can be damaging and dangerous, making stress management tools very important for senior wellness. Stress management allows people to reset their internal alarm systems, repairing the body’s ability to relax.
Stress Management for Seniors
Stress management skills are an important health tool at any age, but the ability to cope with stress is incredibly important for older adults. Because chronic high levels of stress can lead to health issues in seniors, managing stress is a top priority for many forward-thinking senior living communities and care teams. There are many fun, relaxing activities available at senior communities that are proven to reduce stress. Here are five ideas for stress management for older adults:
Stay physically active. Exercise reduces stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, while also releasing endorphins Endorphins are stress-relieving chemicals in the brain that can improve mood. Senior communities, like Anthology of Burlington Creek, have established programs dedicated to exercise, fitness and overall senior wellness. Some of the most recommended exercises for seniors include:
Participate in relaxation exercises. Physical and mental health are closely related. This means, when you calm down your body, it can help to calm down your mind. Relaxation exercises are excellent tools for stress symptoms like dizziness, muscle tension and a fast heartbeat. The three most popular types of relaxation exercises are:
Taking deep breaths
Progressive muscle relaxation
Spend time in nature. Enjoying time outdoors is proven to lower cortisol levels, while reducing psychological and physical stress. Going for a walk or gardening are two of the most popular ways for seniors to spend time outside. At Anthology Stonebridge Ranch, residents can enjoy beautifully landscaped outdoor areas, as well as beautiful common areas and a sunroom!
Participate in arts and crafts. Creative hobbies are a wonderful way to help with stress management. For example, singing releases oxytocin and endorphins in the brain, which promote happiness and decrease stress levels. At Anthology Wildwood, the Elements Life Enrichment program allows residents to fill their daily schedules with activities of their choosing. This can include anything – arts and crafts, exercise classes, games or reading!
Having pets. Anthology of Meridian Hills is a pet-friendly community with an on-site dog park! And this is for good reason. Spending time with animals can reduce cortisol levels in the brain and lower blood pressure. It can also alleviate feelings of loneliness and can be a fun distraction from stressful situations. The forward-thinking team at Anthology Meridian Hills understands these benefits and encourages residents to bring their small pets when they move in!
About Anthology Senior Living
All of the Anthology Senior Living communities share their commitment to our purpose and our values. Our values are an integral part of all our programs, address residents’ unique needs and are a part of how we create engaging activities to keep our residents learning and enjoying each and every day. Our forward-thinking approach to care allows us to support our residents’ needs today, while focusing on healthy habits that will help them enjoy each day going forward.
Want to see our culture and values in action? Contact us to schedule a visit and tour an Anthology community today!