From political drama to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no doubt that the last year has been a stressful one. For older adults who may have spent months visiting with loved ones only through video chat, the impact can be even more pronounced.
We know living with chronic stress can negatively affect your health at any age. It contributes to diabetes, cardiac disease, weight gain, memory, digestive problems, and more. That’s where active relaxation can come in. It plays an important role in overcoming and managing stress.
Here’s what active relaxation is, along with some suggestions you can immediately work in to your day.
What Is Active Relaxation?
Unlike passive forms of relaxation, such as meditation, reading, or napping, active relaxation requires activity or movement. Those activities that bring you a sense of peace and centeredness are considered to be active relaxation methods. They can help with everything from reducing blood pressure to promoting better sleep and reducing stress levels.
One of the most common forms of active relaxation is progressive muscle relaxation. Begin by getting comfortable and taking some deep, cleansing breaths. Try to actively tense one part of your body, then release the tension. It’s usually easiest to begin with one foot. Let’s say you tense the muscles in your right foot. Hold for a count of ten, then let your right foot relax. Move to your left foot and follow the same procedure. Work your way up the body, muscle by muscle.
Senior-Friendly Forms of Relaxation
Other types of active relaxation older adults can explore include:
- Practice chair yoga
- Engage in Pilates
- Tend to your garden
- Go for a nature walk
- Swim or wade in the water
- Paint with watercolors
- Dance to favorite songs in the kitchen
- Play in an adult coloring book
- Bake some cookies
- Knit a scarf
- Create a gratitude journal
- Pet an animal
- Ride a bike
- Go bird-watching
- Call a friend
- Do a little housework
- Fold laundry
- Write your biography
- Declutter your closets
- Watch a comedy and laugh out loud
- Repot a houseplant
- Arrange a bouquet of fresh flowers
These are just a few of the many ways you can stay active while promoting calm and relaxation.
Live and Thrive at Five Star Senior Living
At Five Star Senior Living communities, we encourage residents to not just live, but thrive. And that includes keeping stress and anxiety at bay. Through our Lifestyle360 program, our residents can join a wide range of daily activities that reduce stress and nurture the five dimensions of wellness: intellectual, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual. You’ll find activities to meet every interest, from arts and crafts classes to card games to community movie nights.