Isn’t it ironic that stress has such a strong relationship with disease? The more stressed we are, the more chronic diseases can attack our bodies — which, naturally, tends to stress us out even more.
“Your body is hard-wired to react to stress in ways meant to protect you against threats from predators and other aggressors,” writes the Mayo Clinic in an article about stress management. “Such threats are rare today, but that doesn’t mean that life is free of stress. On the contrary, you likely face many demands each day, such as taking on a huge workload, paying the bills and taking care of your family. Your body treats these so-called minor hassles as threats. As a result, you may feel as if you’re constantly under attack.”
That feeling, in turn, can lead to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, digestive problems, depression, memory impairment and more.
That’s enough to stress anyone out, right?
There is good news, however. You can fight back.
Here are four things you can start doing today to reduce your stress:
Take care of yourself physically. Engaging in regular exercise, getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet will set your body up for success. Are you or an older loved one having trouble sleeping? Here are some tips to improve your sleep.
Take care of yourself mentally. Practicing mindfulness techniques can help break the “cycle of worry,” says one expert, which in turn can put you back in control over your life. What’s more, mindfulness can lead to cognitive improvements and other benefits, especially in older adults.
Pursue your passions. When you take time for hobbies and other things you enjoy, you are lowering your stress level. The Annals of Behavioral Medicine found during one study that when pursuing hobbies, participants’ moods were more positive, and they had lower stress and heart rates. What’s more, stimulating social and mental activities are known to keep our brains sharp as we age.
Learn more: Activities to support brain health and memory in seniors
Get the help you need at home. Among the people we talk with regularly here at Take My Hand At-Home Care, a major stress point is the care of older loved ones. Family caregivers bear an enormous amount of stress in ensuring that their mom or dad are getting the support they need as they age. Contracting with a company like Take My Hand can help reduce the burden of stress through trustworthy, reliable care at home. We work in Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale and throughout Whatcom County to help families lower their stress and ensure their loved ones are well cared for.
Call us today to get the at-home help you need.
Learn more: Is now the right time to choose at-home care?