No matter how old or young you are, stress will be an inevitable part of your life. However, there’s mild stress – that is, in a way, the spice of life and that keeps us on our toes – and then there’s the crippling kind of stress that makes every day a challenge.
Let’s look at the signs of stress in older adults and how you can manage them, reducing stress to a minor part of your daily life.
One of the more common signs of stress is having trouble sleeping. Either you can’t get to sleep no matter how tired you actually feel, or you keep waking up during the night. Even if you do sleep, it’s a broken and exhausting kind of sleep, rather than restful and restorative.
Along with the sleep challenges come changes in your eating habits. Either you have no appetite at all and the meals you once used to love now taste a bit bland, or you find yourself eating much more than you used to. This will also likely interfere with your health and wellbeing. You may start to feel more bloated or generally weaker and less energized.
Irritability and moodiness also accompany stress. You might find yourself going from a positive or neutral mood into a highly negative state of mind for the smallest of reasons. You may react more impulsively or more explosively to minor issues you would normally take on in your stride.
When you’re under a lot of stress, you may also find yourself a bit forgetful. Names and places you usually recall with ease may slip your memory, and you may find yourself reaching for familiar words. You may also have trouble concentrating and making decisions, feeling like you are hovering on the edge of one but just can’t seem to make up your mind.
Stress can also be accompanied by physical symptoms: headaches, chest pain, stomach problems, muscle and joint aches. Your immune system might also be compromised, so you may find yourself getting ill more easily.
Now that we are aware of the telltale signs of heightened stress, let’s look at the best ways to manage them:
Whether you’re feeling a bit under the weather or under a whole lot of stress, a good night’s sleep is the first remedy to reach for. When we sleep, our mind and body can tackle the events of the day, make any necessary repairs, and generally recover from life.
To ensure you’re getting the best possible sleep, look for a good mattress that fits your needs and that will ensure your body is able to rejuvenate overnight.
Although sugar can make us feel better in the short term, it’s a bad choice in the long term. True, a bit of dark chocolate can certainly take the edge off, but try to base your meals around fresh ingredients. Go for lean meats, fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. The longer you keep up this kind of diet, the more you’ll notice its positive effects on your wellbeing.
Exercise is often seen as a problem-solver, as it releases hormones that help you deal with all the stress. It also takes your mind off your troubles, so something as simple as hitting your step target for the day can make you feel much better. Light yoga and stretching will also loosen up stiff muscles and joints, which makes for a great remedy.
There are so many relaxation techniques you can try. Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness – all of these practices can help you manage your negative thoughts and keep a lot of the piled-up stress at bay.
Don’t expect a miracle cure, though, as nothing will happen overnight. You just have to persist in forming a new relaxation habit, and you’ll soon notice the significant change it is making.
Stress can make the simplest of everyday activities much more challenging, and when you’re caught in its grip, it can be difficult to find a way out. Start modifying your habits slowly. With every little bit of extra sleep, nutritious food, and deep breath you consume, you’ll be expelling some of the negativity out of your life.