As you age, it’s natural to worry about health problems and other concerns that come with getting older. However, there are ways to find peace of mind and stay stress-free during ageing. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Keep engaging your body and mind
One way to reduce stress is by staying active both physically and mentally. Whether you enjoy walking, hiking, biking or swimming, being active outdoors can help improve your mood and outlook on life as well as reduce stress levels.
Gardening, playing games, or reading also offer opportunities for mental stimulation and can be enjoyed regardless of your age.
But keep in mind that strenuous physical activity might be risky during old age. The risk is especially high for hip fractures that result from falls, which have been shown to have a high mortality rate.
So, make sure to check with your doctor before starting or making any major changes to your exercise routine.
2. Consider an aged care home
If you’re finding it difficult to manage day-to-day tasks or live independently, an aged care home can provide the assistance you need. These facilities offer a variety of services such as help with personal care, meals, and medication management.
Aged care homes can also provide social activities and opportunities for interaction with other residents. This can help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which can be major sources of stress.
Making the decision to move into an aged care home is a big one. But for many people, it’s the best option for ensuring their safety and well-being.
If you’re considering an aged care home, be sure to do your research and visit a few homes before making a decision. You can also speak to your doctor or a social worker for guidance.
Consider the following Australian example. The decision to move into aged care in Melbourne usually depends on three things:
- The assessed care needs of an individual as determined by an Aged Care Assessment Team
- The availability of aged care places
- The affordability of care
The Australian Government provides a range of subsidies and payments to help cover the costs of aged care. To learn more about these, visit the Department of Health website. The Australian government also covers NDIS service providers that aim to assist Australians with disabilities to lead fulfilling lives as they become less mobile.
3. Maintain healthy eating habits
Another key to reducing stress is through healthy eating habits. Eating nutritious foods not only helps keep your body strong but can also boost your mood. Lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables are all excellent choices for a healthy diet.
In addition, avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol as they can contribute to anxiety and sleep problems. And be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
The best way to devise a healthy eating plan as you get older is to speak with a registered dietitian, who can help tailor a diet specifically for you. This is especially true if you have a functional bowel disease such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can be a source of significant stress and anxiety for patients.
4. Get enough sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for reducing stress levels. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night. However, as we age, our sleep patterns often change and we tend to spend less time in REM sleep, which is what makes us feel well-rested.
But there are a few things you can do to help ensure you get enough rest:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine to help you wind down before sleep. This could involve reading or taking a bath.
- Avoid watching television or using the computer in bed as the light from these devices can interfere with sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool to create an ideal environment for sleep.
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor as there may be an underlying medical condition causing your insomnia.
5. Talk to someone
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety, talking to someone can help. Friends and family members can provide support and understanding. However, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to them about your stress, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor.
There are also many support groups available for people dealing with specific issues such as chronic illness or grief. These groups can provide valuable resources and allow you to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.
Meditation is a mindfulness practice that can help you focus on the present moment and let go of stress and anxiety. There are many different types of meditation, but all involve sitting quietly and focusing on your breath.
You can meditate on your own or with a group. There are also many apps, books, and websites that can provide guidance on how to meditate.
If you’re new to meditation, start with a few minutes each day and gradually increase the amount of time you meditate as you become more comfortable with the practice.
Practising meditation can take some time to master. But with regular practice, you’ll likely find it helps you feel calmer and more centred.
7. Pace yourself
Trying to do too much in a day can leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. To avoid this, pace yourself and take things one step at a time.
Start by making a list of the tasks you need to accomplish in a day. Then, prioritise them based on importance. Once you’ve done this, focus on completing one task at a time.
If you’re struggling to complete a task, break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, if you need to clean the entire house, start by cleaning one room at a time.
Taking things slowly and breaking them down into smaller tasks can help you get through your to-do list without feeling overwhelmed.
Finding peace of mind during ageing can be difficult. But by taking steps to manage stress and anxiety, you can improve your quality of life as you age.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. They can provide guidance and support on how to find peace of mind as you get older. If even that doesn’t help, consider moving into an aged care home.