5 Things to Minimize Stress in Seniors
Here are some easy things for seniors to incorporate into their daily routine to live a happier and stress-free life.
1. Eat a Nutritious Meal
It’s important for seniors to eat a healthy nutritious meal because it aids in increased mental capacity, energy level, and resistance to illness and diseases. Generally, seniors who eat a well-balanced and nutritious meal will feel better overall.
Seniors should avoid consuming too much sugar and caffeine. Both can lead to dehydration. Sugar can be addictive and make your organs fat, leading to feeling depressed, abnormal appetite, increased cholesterol levels, and lead to heart disease. Sugar has also been connected to Alzheimer’s. Eating a diet that is completely sugar-free can be difficult, so a little sugar is okay, but try to keep the sugar you consume to either fall under the fructose or lactose category and minimize foods with added sugar.
With age, sleeping can become difficult and even more so due to medications. Adding caffeine to a senior's diet can disrupt their sleep cycle or routine even more especially if it is consumed later in the day. Too much caffeine can lead to seniors feeling anxious, lightheaded (dehydration), jittery, increased heart rate, etc.
Tip: Switch to Decaf: Good or Bad, Pros & Cons
A little bit goes a long way. Seniors should aim to exercise for 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 Minutes) a week. That's roughly 21.5 minutes a day. There are plenty of ways for seniors to engage in physical exercise from dancing to gardening, playing catch or biking, walking or jogging, yoga, or light weights.
Types of Exercises for Seniors
Exercise and physical activity are great for not just your physical health but mental health as well. Exercise can reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress and be a mood booster. It can also increase your energy level, and improve your quality of sleep and overall health.
If you are just starting out start slow so you can gradually build up strength and get into a routine. This can prevent an injury from occurring and minimize the level of soreness you may feel. Also, make sure you warm up and do a cool-down.
Socialization is important for anyone at any age. It can help reduce stress and prevent other health conditions that can be caused due to high levels of stress, such as cardiovascular and immune diseases. It’s also proven that people who are less stressed live longer, happier lives.
Socialization can also encourage seniors to exercise more (kill two birds with one stone). Exercising with a buddy is always more fun and makes times go by faster. And both are healthy alternatives to reducing the risk of depression, isolation, and loneliness in seniors.
Socialization is also great for seniors to maintain their self-esteem, sense of worth, and quality of life. It’s okay to want to be alone sometimes, and have “me time,” but sometimes too much alone time can be a bad thing. It’s a good idea for seniors to try and get out a couple of times a week, get some fresh air, meet people, and feel alive.
5 Ways for Seniors to Stay Social - Attending Church, Book Club, Volunteer,
There are many benefits seniors can reap from spending time outdoors. Seniors who spend time outside experience less depression, anxiety, stress, and mental and physical health problems. They also experience more positive feelings, such as feeling more confident, happier, independent, more alive, and energetic. The outdoors can also boost creativity and improve attention span and memory.
A popular and well-known benefit of being outdoors, especially during the summer time is it helps to increase levels of vitamin D. Oftentimes, levels of vitamin D in seniors tend to be low which can lead to pain in muscles and bones, inflammation, and become a higher risk for types of cancer and becoming a Type 1 Diabetic.
Having sufficient levels of vitamin D can help with strong bones and muscles, improve your immune system, improve your mood, reduces inflammation, and prevents disease (such as heart disease and diabetes).
Just 15 minutes a day of sunlight is enough to get the daily recommended dose of vitamin D. During winters it may be a little more difficult, but there are supplements that seniors can take to make sure their body is still receiving the daily recommended dosage.
Therapy can help with relaxation, improve mood, and increase overall feelings of happiness. 2 great types of therapy for seniors are nature therapy and music therapy.
Ecotherapy (nature therapy) is connecting with the earth and feeling the positive effects or aura of nature. There are many ways to have a meaningful encounter and connect with nature such as meditating, going for an excursion, gardening, horticulture, farming, animal therapy, doing arts & crafts with materials from nature, etc.
Music therapy has been around since ancient times. Its the clinical use of music to help with reducing stress and improving one's mood. It's been used as a healing tool by native Americans and other indigenous groups. The effects of music also help with lowering stress, managing mood swings, lowering blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and decreasing the risk for coronary artery disease and stroke.