Everyone experiences stress throughout their lives. Between work, relationships, health, and just about anything else, there are plenty of things in our lives that can cause stress. For most people, occasional stressors are common, and even to be expected. However, when you find yourself constantly stressed or anxious, it can be harmful to your mental and physical health.
The first Wednesday in November is National Stress Awareness Day, created to shed light on the prevalence of stress and anxiety and raise awareness of managing stressors in your life.
In observation of this little-known, yet important, holiday, Franklin Park Senior Living, with independent living communities throughout San Antonio, Texas, is sharing some information about managing feelings of stress and anxiety, and how you can begin to create a stress-free life.
How Stress Impacts Older Adults
When we’re younger, we’re more resilient to the effects of stress and can better handle the physical and mental demands that stress can put on the body (poor sleep, increase in heart rate, etc.).
However, as we get older, our bodies become less able to accommodate the natural response to stress. For older adults, those sleepless nights and high heart rates can lead to more serious health concerns. Because of this, it’s vital to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety, as well as learn ways to properly control these feelings.
Signs of Stress and Anxiety in Older Adults Can Include:
- Difficulty sleeping, resulting in low energy and fatigue
- Change in moods, such as irritability, withdrawal, or sadness
- Tension headaches or other aches and pains
- Change in eating habits, as well as weight loss or weight gain
- Weakened immune system or getting sick more often
Fortunately, by recognizing the signs of stress and anxiety, you can work to manage those feelings and prevent any negative impacts.
Strategies for Managing Stress and Anxiety
1. Get Moving
Exercise can be one of the most effective ways to reduce the adverse effects of stress—both short and long-term. Physical activity can help immediately relieve stress and pump up your endorphins, improving your mood almost instantaneously.
Physical activity can also help in lessening the long-term effects of chronic stress. Regular exercise can help you get better sleep, control your appetite/maintain a healthy weight, improve your mood, lower blood pressure, and enhance your overall well-being.
You don’t have to run a marathon to gain benefits from exercise; virtually any form of physical movement can aid in improving fitness while decreasing stress. The important thing is to do something that you enjoy, whether it’s golfing, dancing, playing with a dog, yoga, or even yard work.
2. Eat Right
Eating well is an essential part of stress management. Not only does a poor diet allow stress to take a more significant toll on our bodies, but when we’re stressed, we tend to make unhealthy choices (think that tub of ice cream that you break into after a long day). Eating a well-balanced diet of healthy fats, high-fiber foods, and plenty of fruits and vegetables can reduce stress levels.
Here are some additional tips to consider:
- Swap more caffeine for more sleep. Caffeine increases your heart rate, which can increase stress and anxiety levels. If you find yourself needing an excessive amount of coffee to get through the day, try adjusting your schedule to allow for more sleep instead.
- Remember moderation. It’s important to remember that a healthy diet is all about balance and moderation. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying some ice cream, as long as you don’t rely on it to make you feel better and balance it with some healthy choices.
3. Practice Self-Care
Our lives are often so full of doing things for others that we forget how important it is to do things for ourselves. Taking the time and doing something that you truly enjoy is a great way to manage feelings of stress and anxiety. Some examples of activities that may calm you down include:
- Taking your dog on a walk
- Sharing a cup of tea with a friend
- Doing a hobby that you enjoy, such as sewing, baking, or gardening
- Taking a warm, relaxing bath
- Spending time with your family
Stress Less at Franklin Park
Here at Franklin Park, we know how important it is for our residents to manage stress and anxiety levels, and we work to ensure that each person has the tools they need to manage stress properly. We provide well-balanced, nutritious meals, fitness opportunities, a pet-friendly environment, maintenance services, and more to make our residents’ lives as worry-free as possible.
Franklin Park Independent Living communities are located throughout San Antonio, Texas, offering a resort-style retirement in a luxurious and comfortable environment. For more information on our communities, we invite you to visit our website!