Life is filled with turbulence--illness, fights with loved ones, and global uncertainty. These moments of fear can provide a chance to grow closer to loved ones, gain wisdom, and pause to reflect on all the good things you have. The storm always ends, but when you’re in the middle of it, feeling overwhelmed is natural. No matter what struggles you face, these tactics can help you manage turbulent times.
Find a Distraction
When life is challenging, you sometimes need a distraction to keep going. Not everything you do needs to be meaningful or educational. It’s fine to veg out in front of the TV or lose yourself in a romance novel. Video games can keep your mind from wading into darker places, and solitaire can keep your mind sharp. So figure out which activities feel most immersive and least stressful to you. Then embrace them as helpful distractions.
Put Yourself on an Information Diet
It’s natural to feel anxious about changes in the world around you, whether you’re fretting about political shifts or natural disasters. Over time, the steady stream of fear and bad news can erode your mental health. If you’re already doing all you can to stay safe and make the world around you a better place, you don’t need to be clued in to every changing political tide or new depressing headline. Go on an information diet if bad news is affecting your mental health. Filter your social media feeds. Turn off the news. Stay away from message boards and websites that make you feel bad. You do not need to know about every bad thing that happens in the world.
Exercise remains one of the single best things you can do for your health. It reduces your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and strengthens your immune system. Exercise is also a powerful antidote to depression and anxiety. In some studies, it’s just as effective as psychoactive medication. So kick your immune system into high gear and burn off negative emotions with a quick walk, jog, or swim. If you need to calm your anxious mind, try something like yoga, which encourages deliberate, slow movement and contemplative breathing.
Talk to Someone
Bottling up your emotions during times of suffering doesn’t make them go away. In fact, doing so may even be bad for your health. There’s no shame in talking to someone. Being willing to be vulnerable is an important skill that can deepen your relationships. Most people who are feeling scared or anxious act out those feelings in other ways, such as by being impatient or controlling. When you voice your feelings instead, you may become kinder to loved ones. If you don’t have a loved one you feel comfortable talking to, it’s time to reach out to a professional. Therapy is like healthcare for your mind, and you don’t even have to go in person. Therapy apps such as What’s Up? can help you master better communication and relationships skills in the comfort of your own home.
Be a Little Selfish
You don’t have to spend every second of every day supporting others. Instead, heed the advice that’s on every airplane safety pamphlet. Put on your own mask before helping others. You can’t donate from an empty account, so take some time every day to do things that make you feel good. It may feel selfish, but it’s not. Your life and happiness matter, so make them a priority.
The Arbor Company believes in offering seniors a safe, comfortable, and fun place to begin the next act of their lives. We fill your day with meaningful activities that encourage growth and take your mind off of the world’s problems. We’re always here for you, and would love to help you explore the right retirement options for your needs. To learn more, check out our free guide, “The Journey to Senior Living.”