10 Tips to Help Seniors Relax

Beginning at age 65, we enter what has long been known as “The Golden Years”.  Hypothetically speaking, this is a time to relax, try new hobbies, travel, freely enjoy your leisure time, and possibly even retire on the sunny beaches of Florida, without a worry in the world.  However, this is not the reality for many retirees.  With advanced age comes a host of new challenges that we must face.  Declining health, loneliness, financial struggles, loss of independence, and changes in family dynamics are just a few of the stressors that surface in our later years.  The way we address these challenges can positively or negatively shape our health and happiness during our “Golden Years”.

Prolonged stress can negatively impact your physical and mental health, so it’s important to incorporate relaxation techniques throughout your day.  Try these simple tips to help you stay centered and calm, preventing stress from overtaking your life.


  1. Go Outside  

Stepping into the great outdoors and unplugging from your routine surroundings can have a profound positive impact on your physical and mental health.  Among other benefits, a simple nature walk can help lower your blood pressure, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, lower stress hormones, increase focus, and improve your memory.  If limited mobility prevents you from going on a nature walk, there are many other ways to enjoy the outdoors.  Consider watching a sunrise or sunset, going to the beach, gardening, taking a boat ride, going camping, fishing, or having an outdoor picnic.


  1. Changing Your Routine

There are many perks to having an established routine, and in many ways routines are very important.  However, it’s also important to note when parts of a routine are no longer working and need to be tweaked. Changes to a routine can provide excitement, new experiences, and improved cognitive abilities.  If your routine feels stagnant or stale, consider shifting things around.


  1. Deep Breathing & Meditation 

Sometimes you just need to remember to breathe.  Intentional, deep breaths can help return everything to equilibrium by allowing your body to take in more oxygen, therefore slowing your heart rate and relaxing your mind.  Various techniques, including belly breathing, breath counts, mindful breathing, and breathing visualizations, can be used to help you destress and recenter.


  1. Gentle Exercise

Low impact aerobic exercise elevates your heart rate, triggering your body to release endorphins to your brain.  These feel-good chemicals can help curb stress and anxiety.  The next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try water aerobics, a brisk walk, or yoga to take the edge off.


  1. Listen to Music

Music is easily and widely accessible to people of all ages, abilities, and socioeconomic groups.  For these reasons, it’s an appealing alternative intervention for stress management.  Music with a slower tempo can help you unwind and relax, releasing the stress of the day.  Upbeat music can also be beneficial by making you feel more positive and carefree.


  1. Engage in an Activity

Puzzles, knitting, coloring, and journaling are just a few examples of mindful activities that can help you decompress.  They direct your focus and attention to the here and now, allowing you to block out thoughts that may be causing you to feel stressed or anxious.  Choose an activity that you enjoy and spend some time doing it each day.


  1. Guided Imagery

This is a unique technique intended to make you intentionally think of a calm, peaceful place or scenario.  Guided imagery can be done with a therapist, at a yoga studio, or on your own with the use of tapes or recordings.  The goal is to focus your attention on pleasant, positive scenarios, creating a sense of relaxation throughout your body and mind.


  1. Massage

The calming sounds, the soothing smells, the physical release of tension…what’s not to love?  Though this is more costly than the previous options, it shouldn’t be overlooked.  The entire goal of a massage, from the moment you walk into the spa, is to create a relaxing mood.  The massage therapist will strive to help you achieve a state of deep relaxation, relieving you of any pain, stress, and tension.  You should walk away feeling rejuvenated and energized.


  1. Stretching

Along with increasing flexibility and range of motion, daily stretching also lengthens muscles to alleviate tension.  This can prevent further tightening which leads to chronic pain.  Aside from the physical benefits, stretching also increases serotonin levels, helping to balance out your mood, which helps to reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.


  1. Warm Bath

Slipping into a hot bath at the end of the day may be just what you need to decompress and relax.  The warm water increases your body temperature, calming your nervous system and improving circulation.  This allows your body to relax and your sore muscles to experience relief.  Studies also show that individuals who take warm baths before bedtime fall asleep more quickly and sleep longer.