Managing stress when you’re 50+ is key to staying healthy and enjoying this new chapter in your life.

When stress is a constant, not-so-welcome companion in your life, your overall health and happiness suffer. This means that practicing daily stress relief is a very important part of caring for your body and mind.

Although studies show that stress levels in adults begin to decline after the age of 50, many older adults are going through changes in their lives that may be difficult to cope with. For example, your financial situation may have abruptly changed after retiring or you’re confronting health worries you never had to think about before.

Every person experiences life differently, meaning what causes you stress may not affect a friend your age and vice versa. However, there are things you can do that will lower stress levels and improve your health and well-being, regardless of what individual challenges you may face.

Here are 5 effective tips for reducing stress so you can boost your health, happiness, and ability to conquer obstacles life throws your way.

1. Evaluate your money situation, create a budget that will maximize your income, and seek professional financial help if needed.

Money is the biggest cause of stress for adults in America. If you’re over the age of 50, you’re probably facing some new financial challenges, such as retirement, debt payoff, or even selling a home to downsize. If you’re not feeling very confident or happy with your finances, it’s important to take action.

Start by evaluating your current money situation and create a new budget that will allow you to live comfortably after retirement. If you have debt, design a payoff plan that works with your income. Remember, if at any point you feel overwhelmed or lost, there are plenty of professional financial advisors who can help you locally in-person or virtually online.

2. Look for ways to improve your diet and talk to your dentist if chewing is an issue.

Your diet is the foundation of every aspect of your physical and mental health. Diet also plays a very important role in how stress affects you.

Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet is going to keep your body healthy, prevent disease, and make managing chronic health issues much easier. A healthy diet will also help you manage your stress more easily, with some foods even reducing stress independently.

Keep a food journal and track what you eat during a typical week. From there you can look for ways to remove unhealthy options and replace them with whole fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources.

Also, if you’ve experienced tooth loss and have trouble chewing properly, be sure to speak with your dentist. At Duvall Dental Center we can help you get a beautiful, fully functional smile with dental implants. Even if you currently have dentures, replacing them with dental implants may completely restore your ability to enjoy your favorite healthy foods.

3. Make exercise fun by finding a workout buddy that will keep you inspired and accountable.

Regular exercise is one of the most impactful methods for relieving stress. Daily exercise is very important for adults and seniors to stay healthy and prevent disease. It also helps improve balance and mobility as well as reduce the chances of injury in a fall or similar accident.

Take a look at your daily schedule and see where you can get in more exercise. Starting a habit of taking a walk every day is a great place to start. Adding in some strength-training exercises is also recommended by doctors. Regardless of what type of exercise you enjoy, a useful trick to keep you accountable and on track is to find a workout buddy. You can even encourage your own friends to get active with you. For example, rather than booking a coffee or lunch date, why not go a walk around the park while you chat instead?

4. Keep yourself busy and fill your inner happy meter by practicing hobbies or volunteering at a local organization.

A common issue faced by recent retirees is an empty schedule. Not having anything to do can be wonderfully relaxing at first, but over time it can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, and even gradually turn to depression. Loneliness often plays a big role.

Think about what hobbies you love or activities you used to enjoy decades past that you now have time to try again. If you’re feeling isolated at home, you can make new friends by attending classes or functions based on your favorite hobbies. Another fantastic idea is to volunteer at a local organization, like a youth center, food bank, or animal shelter.

As a bonus, if you feel lonely while at home, consider adopting a dog or cat in need of a loving home. Pets are a huge source of stress relief and, in the case of a dog, can also help older adults stay active by encouraging regular walking.

5. Find opportunities, no matter how small, that will make you smile and laugh.

Laughter is truly the best medicine and the archenemy of stress. It’s nearly impossible to feel stressed when you’re smiling and laughing. And the more you laugh and smile, the more your overall stress will dissipate.

Genuine, hearty laughing sessions leave you feeling happy and optimistic because your body releases feel-good endorphins and decreases your cortisol levels. You can spark these events by purposely looking for activities that will leave you laughing. Watch your favorite funny movie or stream a stand-up comedian. Get together with friends to play board games or take it back to your youth with charades. You can even look for laughter yoga classes.

Your oral health grows increasingly more crucial with age, so be sure to maintain regular dental appointments.

Stress and oral health both affect one another.

Chronically elevated stress levels are linked to a number of oral health problems, such as bruxism (teeth grinding), TMD (pain linked to your temporomandibular joint), and even gum disease. Poor oral health can also raise your stress levels directly by causing inflammation within the body and toothaches, and indirectly, such as feeling stressed about dental expenses.

Since adults over the age of 50 are more likely to have gum disease, missing teeth, and other oral ailments, going to the dentist on a regular basis is even more important. Professional cleanings can even be a relaxing experience when you’re in the hands of a skilled dental team, like the one at Duvall Dental Center.

If it’s been over six months since you’ve seen a dentist, you need treatment for a problem tooth, or consultation for restorative care for missing teeth, give our office a call to schedule an appointment.