Whether you're on a social media platform such as Facebook or simply watching the nightly news on a regular basis, the amount going on in the world today can be daunting. Even for seniors who have lived through many stressful events in the past, the world of 2020 and now 2021—with its pandemics, political unrest and other negative news cycles—can be a bit much.
Constant levels of stress that come from worrying about yourself, your loved ones and the state of the nation in general can be bad for your mental and physical health, though. This type of stress can impact sleep, focus and other body functions, and for some people it can also contribute to unhealthy habits such as turning to comfort foods just a bit too much.
Whether you're enjoying a vibrant life in an assisted living community such as The Gardens in Springfield, MO, or you're still contemplating such a move, here are a few tips for stepping back from the stress of the world to find a bit of peace in your home each day.
Pick a song you adore—one that gets your toes tapping every time you hear it. Crank it up on a CD player in your apartment or play it via your mobile device and a streaming service. You can use a pair of noise cancelling headphones to listen to your music anytime without bothering your neighbors if you like—a great tip if you're trying to unwind in the evening so you can sleep at night.
Get up and move to the music (in a safe way that's appropriate for your mobility level). A bit of physical activity can help you work off nervous energy, and that can help you develop peace as you approach the next tasks on your list for the day.
If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can download a meditation app to help you step away from the worries of the world and calm your mind and body. These apps include options for white noise, enjoyable nature sounds, calming music, stories and guided meditations. Some options to look for in your app store include Calm, Headspace, Insight Timer, and Ten Percent Happier Meditation.
Seniors who enjoy creative pursuits may find some peace and calm in engaging those skills. You don't have to be an artist or pro craftsperson to use creativity to destress. Something as simple as coloring with crayons or markers may provide a sense of calm for many. Other options can include scrapbooking or paper crafts, crochet, knitting, sewing, woodworking, painting or writing.
Escaping to another world for a bit can be a great way to dump some stress and find some peace. You may want to make it a light and fun fictional world, but every person is different and you know what's right for you. Some people love a good mystery or crime thriller, for example, and find that the suspense of the show allows them to forget about the negative news cycles and other stressors so they can unwind a bit.
Reader's Digest has claimed laughter to be the best medicine for decades, and while you definitely still should consult your medical providers and follow up with their advice, humor can be a great way to find some peace in your assisted living apartment. Stream a stand-up comedian's act via your Netflix subscription, read a funny book or simply call someone who makes you laugh a lot when you're in need of a break from some of the more serious issues of the world.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." John 14:27 (ESV)
Jesus says a lot about peace, including the fact that it's what he left for us to hold on to. He specifically sends a Spirit of peace to those who love and proclaim him, and seniors of faith can often find peace and reduce their stress by turning to their Bible in times of need or just when they're feeling exhausted by the news cycles.
Reminiscing is a great way to get your mind off of current events and remember that you've had good times before and will probably have some again. Swapping stories about fun times and what you're grateful for also helps you remember the blessings you've experienced throughout your life, which can put a lot of today's troubles in a better perspective.
If you're a senior in an assisted living community and you find you can't break free of troublesome thoughts and stresses, remember that you're not alone. Reach out to the assisted living staff for help.