Staying Calm – Helpful Stress Relief Tips For Seniors
Life can be stressful. Add to the normal stress of everyday life facing a debilitating disease, and staying calm can be a challenge. Specialized Nursing Services caregivers know your loved one is under an enormous amount of stress and discomfort, and we want to help. When seniors get stressed, our trained staff helps to implement simple but effective stress relief techniques to help your already pressured loved one stay calm.
The best ways we have discovered to keep calm are mindfulness, routine and activity. These techniques are proven to help relax the parasympathetic nervous system, and in some instances reduce heart rate or blood pressure!
Mindfulness based practices are a great way to keep calm. Mindfulness means bringing full attention to the present. Often our stresses are triggered because we are not in the present, but rather anxious thinking about the future, or depressed thinking about the past. If we can mindfully enter the present moment with our awareness, the anxieties and depressions lessen, and our focus is on the now. Here are two simple mindfulness practices:
- Breathing exercises – Simple breathing exercises can be an excellent tool to keep calm as it brings us back to the present. When we focus attention to the breath and attempt to breath in a certain way, our mind can only be with the breath in the now. This helps us to stay away from stress provoking thoughts, and allows us to remain calm. One great breathing exercise, called ‘three part breath’ encourages us to breathe fully and completely into the whole body. You are guided to breath into the lowest part of the belly, then the midsection, then finally into the chest. Oppostiley, exhaling from the top of the chest, through the midsection, and out of the belly. When being mindful of the breath in this way, it is hard to focus on anything but the present, and the breath.
- Journaling – Journaling is a great tool to be mindful and present. This practice helps reduce stress and keep calm by keeping the focus on the present, and also expelling any thoughts, ideas or feelings that may be worrisome or stress inducing. By mindfully journaling whatever is going on in one’s mind, we encourage ourself to face our stress, and get it out of our system. Although sometimes our writing in journaling may not be grammatically correct, perfectly organized, or concise, our mind can become calm and empty just through the process of concentration on expression of ideas. This is an outstanding practice for any senior loved one (or anyone at all!) who is feeling stressed.
Routines are an often overlooked source of stress relief. Sometimes in exasperation or moments of overwhelming stress, abandoning our lives, daily routines and plans seems like the best option, or an escape. In fact, the exact opposite is true. It is through staying in touch with our routine, and being productive, that we begin to feel back in charge of our life and our feelings. Routines keep us grounded and help us to remember our purpose. In this way, we can worry less, and go about our day completing our usual tasks. Aside from productivity, routine can occupy our mind and keep our focus on getting things done. In this way, we can worry and stress less. Some great routines that are productive include folding laundry, doing dishes, organizing closets or drawers, taking care of plants or animals, and general house work, or tasks. These often repetitive routine activities allow our hands and bodies to be occupied and our focus to be directed at productivity and completing a goal. When we finish the task we feel calm and good because we can cross it off the list and feel accomplished in doing so!
Aside from the physiological and neuropsychological benefits of physical activity, it is also a great stress relieving tool. Not only through activity do you feel a more positive mood, you also create a release of stress.
If you have any questions, we’re ready to help. Contact Specialized Nursing Services when you need help.