By Dan Desloover, EAP Coordinator at Mercyhealth
Who isn’t stressed? We all are. So let’s take a closer look at stress. Stress is our mental and physical feeling to a perceived threat. These threats, or stressors, can include chronic illness, declining physical abilities, loss of a spouse, decreased social support, new living environments, having too much time on one’s hands, and financial challenges.
We know that too much stress leads to irritability and anxiety, sleep problems, decreased concentration, memory problems, headaches, indigestion and other hidden health problems. So let’s review some strategies for decreasing stress.
- Exercise – We know that exercise produces relaxation, improves mood and did you know, stimulates brain growth. Consider taking walks, joining an exercise class and getting outdoors in nature. Simply enjoying the sun or sitting outdoors may also brighten your mood.
- Social connection – We all need some social connection. When the coronavirus passes consider joining activities at the senior center. You might also volunteer, when it’s safe to do so. If you experienced an unfortunate death or loss, consider a support group through a local church or Mercyhealth (1-888-39-MERCY). Finally, a pet brings positive interaction and support.
- Positive mind-set – We need to pay attention to our minds as much as our bodies. To manage stress, use a balanced outlook for problems by identifying possible negative and positive outcomes. Additionally, consider pleasant distractions such as reading, crafts or listening to music. You might also try an end of the day review of positive moments to improve your mood! Lastly, consider increasing relaxation by deep breathing and meditation.
- Problem-solving – This approach is most helpful when we are facing known stressors such as housing, home care and nutrition. Consider the Aging & Disability Resource Center (608-741-3600) for assistance. Additionally, consider asking a trusted family member or friend to help identify solutions.