Guest Blog By Roger Liddell Co-Owner
Transitions of the Chippewa Valley
Stress seems to be an everyday
thing. It doesn’t matter how old you are. As we mature the causes of stress may
change but certainly, they do not diminish. It could be different things like
helping your children move into adulthood with adult responsibilities or moving
up in your job because of your accumulated experiences, or facing change such
as downsizing, moving, or helping with grandchildren. Or, unfortunately it may
be losing a loved one or experiencing health issues of your own or a loved one,
or worry over financial security.
Research shows that people aged
50 to 65 are 17% more likely to experience stress than their counterparts in
the 1990’s. What's worse, the effects of stress are magnified as you age. A Harvard Health article about stress in the elderly details
how your body can no longer fight off stress as efficiently as in your prime
years because of the diminished state of your cells, heart, and lungs. As a
result, stress can cause short-term memory loss, sleep problems, tension
headaches, anxiety and irritability, indigestion, and heart palpitations — all
of which can worsen over time. This is why you need to figure out healthy ways
to deal with stress.
So, what are some of the things
you can do to help manage your stress? Here are some ideas.
Learn to breath – I know that
sounds funny since you have been breathing your entire life but here is the
thing, because we all do it every day, we don’t think about it, we just do it.
However, there are exercises in breathing that can help reduce the stress you
are feeling. The best part is, they are free, easy and you can do them any time
you want or need to. A popular exercise is called the 4-7-8 breathing
technique. You inhale through your nose for 4 counts, hold your breath for 7
counts, then release it forcefully for 8 counts. Doing this can help ease some
of that stress away
Exercise – Most people know that
exercise helps keep you strong and gives you stamina. But it also
releases serotonin, which helps relax both your body and brain,
and endorphins, which boosts your mood and sense of wellbeing. This is why
you should keep on exercising as you grow older. But you don't need to go to
the gym or perform strenuous workouts. Instead, you can take leisurely walks
every day, do house chores, and even take up a low-impact sport such as
swimming. Doing these will boost not just your mental health, but even your
Mind games – Doing the crossword
puzzle, playing Sudoku, playing cards with friends or on your tablet or
computer all help keep the mind sharp while you have fun, which helps keep
stress levels down.
Socialize – Spend time with
friends and family. Consider moving in to a senior community to be with people
your age with similar interests. Being isolated can be a stress inducer that we
really don’t consider nearly enough.
Eat properly – The things we ate
when we were younger isn’t always the best for when we are older. Not that a
lot of it was great for when we were younger either but we could tolerate it
better. Obviously, fruits and vegetables are very important but do not forget
the protein. Nutrition experts, advises seniors to consume 1 to 1.2 grams
of protein per kilogram of body weight every day — and higher if you are
suffering from chronic diseases. This protein uptake will help you stay fit and
functional, and able to do the healthy stress relievers outlined above.
Unfortunately, stress is very
likely to show up in all of our lives, but we can do fairly simple things to
make it less impactful.