April is Stress Awareness Month, a time in which medical experts in all fields band together to raise public awareness about the many negative and complex long-term effects stress can have on one’s mind, body, and overall heath. Stress is known as the “silent killer,” as it’s consistent presence in one’s life can open the door to a whole host of negative effects on health, from depression to heart disease to weight gain to chronic headaches. Stress can have a particularly potent effect on the health of the senior population, as their bodies and immune systems are more prone to damage and they don’t always have the support system in place to help them manage or alleviate the effects of stress. Therefore, it is more important than ever before that seniors are making proactive daily decisions to decrease their stress levels in order to improve their health.
Stress relief is a main focal point at our Schonberg Care communities, where customized programs are cultivated with physical and mental stress relief in mind. “We partner with Live2BHealthy, who comes in and works on exercises with our residents that are designed to relieve physical stress,” says Shelly Jarrell, Executive Director of Schonberg Care community Beau Provence Memory Care Assisted Living in Mandeville, LA. “For mental stress relief, we encourage our residents to unwind in the two beautiful and secure zen gardens we have surrounding out community. They also work with our Master Gardeners to tend and cultivate growth there, which is a very relaxing activity.”
Three simple ways to start working on lowering your stress today?
-Prioritize yourself above all else. If you aren’t taking good care of yourself, it’s impossible to take good care of anything else in your life, from your relationships to your career. It is important to always be conscious of putting your own physical and mental needs at the top of your to-do list and making sure your “me tank” is always full. This can be accomplished through things like making time each week for a long walk with a friend, signing up for a new fitness course or other type of class that interests you, or splurging on that deep-tissue massage your body has been craving.
-Focus on now. We must grudgingly admit that that old adage our grandparents used to admonish us with that “worry is like a rocking chair” is very true – it gets you absolutely nowhere, and it absolutely does more harm than good! While banishing worry from your life is much easier said than done, there are a few tried-and-true methods to decrease it’s effect on your life – popular techniques to quit worrying include writing your worries down on paper to get them out of your head and practicing positive, calming affirmations like “You’ve got this” and “Everything will work out for the best” to block out the nagging, negative voice we all struggle with hearing in our head.
-LAUGH! Speaking of old but true adages, laughter really IS the best medicine! On top of decreasing your stress levels, laughter also boosts your mood and energizes your body. What is life without laughter? Getting the chuckle train moving is as simple as hitting the World Wide Web- the Internet is a beautiful place in which a good belly laugh is only a quick Youtube visit away! Other options include giving your funniest friend a call (connecting with loved ones is also a stress-reliever) or Netflixing a show that never fails to tickle your funny bone- Friends and The Office are always great go-to’s, in our humble opinion.
In our increasingly changing and hectic world, stress is on the rise as a constantly growing epidemic and one of our nation’s greatest health threats. Don’t be part of the statistic – prioritize yourself and finding your own “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” mindset this month! Your mind and body will thank you in the months to come!