Stressed out Boomers
Do you experience the blahs? Are you having trouble shaking away the blues? Do you feel overwhelmed, overwrought and overspent? You’re not alone. You’re simultaneously balancing the roles of parent, spouse, caregiver, friend and employee and have passed the point where you can effectively cope and function well. In today’s world, where stress levels in your personal and professional life are at their limit, it’s not uncommon for you to need a little coaching to get you on a better road to better health.
Everyone has had the occasional “off” day where the minor inconveniences and anxiety of daily living make you want to stay in bed, rather than confront the day. This is normal. It’s basically the body interpreting the messages from your mind and the message is, “I’m worn out emotionally and physically.”
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, companies spend billions of dollars a year dealing with the effects of stress on their employees. The consequences of stress manifest as numerous sick days, slow production, poor motivation, decreased involvement and even substance abuse.
Here are three key methods to help ease the chaos you may be experiencing inside:
- The oldest and best way to master stress is through stress reduction techniques, first introduced by Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard University in the 1970s. However, most people never practice the time-tested techniques or even recognize that they need help. Anyone can learn the relaxation response, which involves slow, rhythmic breathing and imagining (visualizing) peaceful, positive images in your mind. Numerous scientific studies support relaxation as an effective tool to promote better health and increase longevity.
- What about your attitude? Can you pick and choose what bothers you? Do you let things roll off your back or does it need further attention, now? Try to keep your thoughts on what you want, rather than on what you don’t want and see if that makes a difference. Reducing the amount of time you dwell on the negative helps to reduce the impact it has on you physically – thereby strengthening your emotional ability to cope.
- Try delegating some of your responsibilities to others. Can a sibling take your mom to the MD, so you can focus on your son’s homework? Can you and your spouse find some R&R time this weekend, while your teenagers or adult children spend time with grandma? Don’t be afraid to ask. It’s important to lessen your burdens by getting as much help from your support system as you can so you can be a healthier support for others.
The goal for stress reduction is to manage any feelings and challenges you may face, so that you can stay productive, effective and emotionally on track.
By Amy Sherman, LMHC
Amy Sherman, LMHC, offers therapy to individuals, groups and families in West Palm Beach, FL. Visit www.bummedoutboomer.com to learn more about Baby Boomer issues or contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (561) 281-2975.