In contemporary culture, mental health is becoming more a common discussion point. Mental wellness is valuable to have a high quality of life, and it is important to maintain your mind and body to support your emotional wellbeing as a senior. When considering your own mental wellness, you may come across personal struggles, including feelings of anxiety.
Anxiety symptoms can manifest in a variety of different ways and can be mental and physical.
- Feeling tense, upset, and nervous
- Trepidation and panic
- Trouble concentrating
- Overpowering worry
- Trouble Sleeping
- Stomach Aches
- Increased heart rate
It is important to consider all supports available when treating anxiety or an anxiety disorder, including natural remedies and medical treatment. Medical treatments can be a necessary part of managing anxiety, but anxiety can also be treated holistically – this means that natural remedies can also support your treatment. The following are a variety of holistic natural remedies that can support your journey to mental wellness.
Meditation is the ongoing practice of mindfulness in which the user uses specific techniques, such as a mantra or guided practice, to train attention, awareness, and clarity. Meditation can help those with anxiety as it can help train the mind to be more aware of toxic thought patterns and calm racing thoughts. Mindfulness-based meditation is increasingly popular in therapy with research-supported evidence illustrating the benefits to mental wellness. There are a wide variety of meditation styles available, from online guided meditation, in-person guided meditation, yoga meditation, and solo meditation. This can be helpful as when senior’s minds age, they will have different needs. No matter your preference, there is a meditation that can benefit you.
Exercise is an important part of a daily routine for someone with anxiety, as it helps burn off excess energy which can help calm the mind and body. Exercise also releases endorphins and other beneficial hormones which help regulate mood and stabilize mental clarity. Exercise is also linked to building resilience for people during stressful times. Relaxation exercises can also be beneficial for those who struggle to relax their body, suffer from tension headaches, and have trouble sleeping. There are guided practices online for progressive relaxation exercises. You start by lying in a comfortable position and slowly constricting and relaxing each muscle group, beginning with the toes and working up to the shoulders and jaw. This is a physically accessible way for seniors to gain the benefits of exercises in an accessible way. This helps release built-up tension and promote physical and mental calmness.
For those who suffer from anxiety, socializing can be a struggle due to social anxiety, however, it is also important because a lack of social interaction can lead to low self-esteem and depression. Each person may have to consider what a thriving social life may mean to them. It may mean prioritizing physically seeing their loved ones daily or weekly in order to keep up morale. Or it may mean that they are more involved in online social groups and enjoy video chatting, gaming, or online hobby forums. This is key for seniors as seniors are more likely to suffer from isolation-based anxiety and require socializing to help maintain brain function. As well, if human interaction is too stressful to consider at times, an animal companion can be emotionally fulfilling. Pets and service animals offer support, love, and physical affection – which are all necessary to build healthy self-esteem. All animals can provide wonderful companionship – including dogs, cats, horses, and small animals like birds, reptiles, or hamsters. Animals provide unconditional love and can help build resilience for those with anxiety and trauma.
Sensory accommodations can be supremely helpful when managing symptoms of anxiety. Sensory accommodations include any activity that is attuned to the user’s senses. By connecting to the senses, it can help build awareness of the body which can help minimize anxiety thoughts spiral. Aromatherapy is a common choice as soothing-smelling oils can ease stress and anxiety. Scents are person-specific so while lavender may be a favorite, it is important to consider the preferences of the individual. Herbal teas have similar results, but cater to the sense of taste, rather than smell. The process of making, smelling, and tasting herbal teas, especially chamomile, can assist in minimizing cortisol, which helps reduce anxiety and assist in a night of better quality sleep. Scents can also help spark nostalgic memories which can bring joy to your elderly loved ones.
If you have tried natural and medical treatments and continue to find yourself trapped in toxic thought patterns, then it may be time to seek out a therapist. Therapy can be life-changing and a positive source of good in your life, and you have a professional that is in your corner supporting your journey to wellness. Along with in-person therapy, there are many convenient options such as video call therapy and text-based therapy. With some research, you can find a therapist and schedule that works for you. Out of therapy, your therapist may recommend journaling to help express your feelings and make them more manageable. Writing can help reveal thought patterns that can assist in coping effectively with anxiety. Creative writing can also help support people of all ages manage their emotions and unleash their inner feelings in a healthy way. Another therapy strategy is finding an effective time management routine. Often, people with anxiety feel anxious due to being late, overwhelmed, overbooked, and overstimulated. Therefore, having a plan in place can help those with anxiety schedule in a way that benefits them. By scheduling a routine that works for you, you can resist the urge to worry incessantly, multitask, and break down big projects into manageable steps.
When self-medicating, it is critical to consult with a doctor before taking any pills, supplements, ‘health’ teas, or anything new and ingestible. While there are wonderful and holistic remedies you can utilize to balance your body and mind, there are also unscrupulous people who may try and sell you a ‘fad’ that will harm your body. You and your doctor know your body best, and they are a great first resource for when you are looking for mental illness treatment options.