Staying Positive in Challenging Times: 8 Great Ways to Reduce Stress
Staying positive during challenging – and changing – times.
Whether you’re looking after a senior loved one in your home or at a distance, the past few months surely have brought changes and challenges. People all over are learning new ways to care for their families, their communities, and themselves.
Change can be especially stressful for seniors and their caregivers, who rely on steady routines to stay safe and healthy.
By now, we all know how excess stress can negatively impact health. And fortunately, we also know a lot about how to reduce stress.
Following are eight simple things that you can start today to help boost mood and relieve stress for yourself and for the seniors in your life.
8 Stress-Relieving Ideas for Caregivers and Seniors
The key to managing and relieving stress at any stage of life is to develop a positive and flexible mindset, and to take action. Mindset and action work together: taking action can change your mindset, and your mindset will change your actions! Here are some senior and caregiver-friendly ideas to help get you started:
- Practice gratitude.
- Listen, and share stories.
- Accept unpleasant feelings.
- Get moving.
- Take a news/media holiday.
- Find meaning and purpose.
- Take a deep breath.
- Find reasons to laugh.
List three things you are grateful for each day, big or small. Whether it’s a cat purring, an unexpected message from a friend, or enjoying a perfectly ripe piece of fruit, when you practice recognizing the small joys and pleasures in life, you create opportunities to feel good. When you find the little joys, share them!
While the current situation may be unique, the seniors in our lives have seen the world change many times over. Although many seniors may be feeling vulnerable right now, remember that they also are a source of wisdom and resilience. Give them an opportunity to discuss their fears or frustrations, and ask them about their experiences and memories. Their perspective can help you, and they’ll feel valued and appreciated.
It is normal to experience disappointment or sadness when much anticipated events are postponed or canceled. Rather than forcing yourself to be cheerful in every moment, give yourself some time to be sad or disappointed. Without bottled-up negative feelings, you’ll have more energy to take care of those who rely on you, and to enjoy and share life’s pleasures.
Exercise releases endorphins, which help reduce stress hormones in the body. Just a quick walk around the block can be enough to clear your mind and get endorphins flowing. For seniors with mobility challenges, a short routine of chair yoga or stretching and strengthening exercises is enough to release these feel-good chemicals. (There are many routines available for free online.)
A constant stream of news and information all day every day can put anyone on edge. Commit to taking one day per week off from the news (and social media, if it is a source of stress for you). Focus on forms of entertainment that are inspiring and uplifting.
There are countless little ways to find meaning and purpose in day-to-day life, like reciting a prayer or meaningful phrase each time you wash your hands, prepare a meal, or go for a walk.
There is a reason why we tell people to take a deep breath when they’re upset: it works! Deep breathing for as little as five minutes decreases heart rate and blood pressure, and helps with digestion and mood.
Few things improve your mood like a good laugh. Share funny stories about kids, grandkids, and pets. Ask your loved ones about their funniest memories, and remind them of funny family stories. If you’re at home with your senior loved ones, watch their favorite funny movie or television show together.
Reducing stress and increasing positivity will help keep you focused on what is important during challenging times: staying safe, healthy, and connected with the people you love.
All of us at Sunnyside Manor hope you are staying safe and taking good care of each other.
Learn More About Why Families Rely On Sunnyside Manor
Sunnyside Manor offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation. Learn more about Sunnyside Manor’s resources for caregivers. Whether you’re looking for short-term support or a longer-term plan, we are here to help. Begin with our “Getting Started” guide, or call us at 888-696-2052 to speak with a senior living expert.
Sunnyside Manor, located in Wall NJ, is the area’s premier senior living community. It features three distinctive neighborhoods: Independence ‘Plus’ Assisted Living, Recollections Memory Care and Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.