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5 Tips to Help You Reduce Stress

April has been deemed National Stress Awareness month, an important time to reflect on the causes—and cures—for stress in our lives. In the senior living industry, health is always a top priority, so we recognize the many ways stress impacts our lives and the lives of our residents, from lack of sleep to cardiovascular issues.

At Bethesda Senior Living Communities, we work hard to make sure our residents have everything they need to enjoy stress-free lives. Whether it’s assistance with daily activities, heart-healthy dining options, or exercise programs such as Tai Chi classes, we strive to promote a relaxed lifestyle in our tranquil communities.

Yet we also see how stress is an inevitable part of life, and takes an especially hard toll on families whose loved one is in need of extra care. Having an elderly parent with memory care issues can be taxing, particularly if you also have your own children to care for.

Watch for the Signs of Stress

This month, take a few moments to pause and consider the role of stress in your life. One of the biggest dangers of stress is that people who are stressed don’t often realize it. But if stress is left unchecked, it can lead to anxiety, depression and other negative health effects. A few common signs of stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches, particularly in your back or neck
  • Chest pain
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Sadness

Make a Few Changes to De-Stress

Stress often has a root cause, such as being over-worked or experiencing a major life change. While you may not have the flexibility to change those big underlying issues, a few small changes in your everyday life can help you chip away at stress and keep it under control. Here are five tips to help you de-stress:

  • Declutter and organize. You don’t have to transform into a total neat-nick. As Marie Kondo writes in “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” knowing where everything is and not seeing chaos in your personal space can help you feel more comfortable and confident.
  • Focus on now. Whether you have regrets about the past or anxieties about the future, you can’t change either. Living in the moment can help you enjoy the moment and not add stress to your daily life. Consider reading up on “mindfulness” to help you focus on life today, moment by moment.
  • Laugh a little. Find a silly sitcom, share a good joke, read a humorous book—a little laughter does wonders to zap the stress out of your life. When it comes to letting go of anxiety, laughter really is the best medicine.
  • Lend a helping hand. Concentrating on someone else, even for a few minutes, can take the focus off your own problems, reduce the amount you internalize, and lessen your stress. The power of giving and generosity will uplift your spirits and lighten your load.
  • Make time for yourself. You can use that time to read, meditate, power-nap, work on a hobby or craft, but the important thing is to schedule at least ten minutes a day of YOU time. A still mind is a stress-free mind.