Senior Stress: 11 Ways to Let it Go

June 21, 2024

Most people look forward to retirement as a glorious end to their working years. You picture days filled with doing all the things you’ve wanted to do but never had time.

While retirement can be fun and carefree, it can also be stressful. Retirees worry about staying healthy, having enough money to maintain their lifestyle, and the overall adjustment to a new life.

Here’s how to de-stress when those worries start creeping in.

1. Breathe

Simple, right? Some easy breathing exercises can have a big effect on your stress levels and your blood pressure.

Breathe deeply and focus on the things in your life that you’re thankful for.

2. Get a massage

Many people swear by the relaxing, anxiety-reducing effects of a good massage.

A full massage isn’t for everyone, however.

If the idea makes you feel more nervous than calm, consider a facial, a hand or foot massage, or a mani-pedi.

Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself once in a while. You deserve it.

3. Play with your pet

Take your pup for a leisurely stroll or snuggle up with your cat. Pets can lower stress and even improve heart health, according to the National Institutes of Health.

If you don’t have a pet, consider visiting a local animal shelter or even volunteering.

4. Read

Whether you enjoy poetry, a light-hearted romance or biographies of inspirational people, take time to enjoy the pleasure of reading.

It has the power to calm you and take your mind off things that may be troubling you, as well as reduce cognitive decline in senior citizens, notes the National Library of Medicine.

5. Take an exercise class

Find something that’s just your speed and go for it.

Water aerobics is gentle on your joints and yoga for seniors will give your muscles a soothing, calming stretch.

If something upbeat is more your speed, try a SilverSneakers dance class.

6. Journal

The very act of writing out what’s on your mind can help you to gain some clarity and even come up with possible solutions.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate, fancy or even spelled correctly, just put your worries on paper.

It can help to share your worries with a friend or counselor as well.

7. Play a game

Whether you make a standing date to play checkers with your friend or you have a monthly board game night, find a way to fit some game time into your schedule.

Your brain will benefit from the challenge and your spirit will benefit from the social interaction.

8. Walk the mall

There are endless entertainment opportunities at your local mall.

Shop, people-watch, grab a snack or sit down for coffee. Meet your friends for a visit or enjoy some solitude.

9. Get artsy

You don’t have to be an artist to take up painting or drawing, and you don’t have to be an experienced seamstress to knit, sew or do needlepoint.

Just creating something will ease your mind. Giving away your creations as gifts will bring you joy.

10. Laughing

Daily laughter is good medicine.

When you feel the weight of the world bearing down on you, watch a funny movie or TV show. Read something that makes you laugh or call that friend that never fails to make you giggle.

11. Take Care of Yourself

Get a good night’s rest, exercise every day, get out into the sun and eat a balanced diet.

Be intentional about taking care of yourself – physically, mentally and emotionally.

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This post was originally published in May 2018; updated June 2024.