When we think about aging well and good health, we immediately look towards diet and exercise. But, we do leave out another important component of our overall well-being and that is a little bit of ‘RnR’ (Rest and Relaxation).
Many may scoff at the thought of how relaxing can help our overall health but it is an important part of fighting off the consequences of stress and ensuring longevity and good quality of life. While we all need to focus on ourselves from time to time and relax, it is especially important for the elderly in our lives.
Relaxation for the Elderly
As we age, we can be more susceptible to health problems and this is why relaxation becomes a vital part of improving and maintaining health. For the aging adult, relaxation can help alleviate possible risk factors that lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Stress is one of the main contributing factors to high blood pressure and has been directly linked to 10% of all strokes.
Relaxation is a powerful tool in fighting some of the more common ailments like cold and flu. Stress on the mind and body can;
- Increase inflammation
- Reduce immunity and make your body more vulnerable to germs and bacteria.
Tips to Help You Relax:
As someone who can find it hard to relax, I have found a few tips over the last few years that I believe will really help you or an elderly loved one.
I am not someone who is able to relax with breathing techniques or through exercise. I have tried it, during a calming chi session I started making to-do lists in my head for the house and when I exercise, I generally like to work through something difficult in my mind so it certainly isn’t relaxing.
Of course, to each their own but if you are at a loss as to how to relax and need a helping hand, I have a few great tips below.
Nothing can get you out of your own head better than giving your full attention to making something. Whether you are working with clay, painting a picture, or knitting a blanket. Your mind is too focused on the patterns, on the colours, or how the shape should be. You will notice your mind and body relax as you give in to it and you will really enjoy it.
Have a Soak
Think about it, the calming and soothing water, the smell of your favourite soap fill the room, and the bubbles dancing on top of the water. Having a soak in the bath can help to relax and soothe tense muscles as well as give you some much-needed downtime.
Of course, there are some of us who don’t have a bath at home, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the bubbles and the aroma. A foot spa or an extra long shower can help you a good level of relaxation too.
I think the Teddy Bears had it right. There is nothing like a stroll through the park or the woods. I love the sounds of the birds, a possible stream ahead with water crashing against some pebbles. Getting out into nature can have some remarkably healing and restorative powers. Why not have a picnic with you and a book or a friend or to and make a day of it.
Have you ever had a cup of tea or coffee during a busy day and the first sip helps you to calm your thoughts and present at that moment? I have and it helps brings me back to earth and relax me. It may be a quick buzz but it is just what I need to help refocus and remember to relax. It’s even better when you share a cuppa with a loved one. We all love to chat over a cuppa here in Ireland and this could be why it helps us to relax.
Why not pop the kettle on now and have a natter?
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