By Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com contributing editor
Feeling frazzled? Balancing life with work, kids, bills and managing a household can put anyone on the verge of a meltdown.
Caring for others, you probably forget to take care of yourself. But if you’re not healthy, you not only suffer, but so do those in your care. What you do isn’t easy, and you probably don’t have much time in your day for yourself, but reducing stress levels whenever possible is crucial to good health and good state of mind. So take a deep breath, and read on. Here are some surprisingly simple stress busters.
Laughing for one minute is the equivalent to 15 minutes on an exercise bike or 10 minutes on a rowing machine. Laughter can reduce stress hormones, boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure. So pop in an old Seinfeld video, read your favorite comic strip, turn on Comedy Central, call a friend who makes you laugh or pull out old photos albums. Go ahead: laugh out loud!
2. Embrace routine tasks
Instead of rushing through the day on auto pilot, elicit the relaxation response while you’re doing simple household tasks, like folding laundry or washing dishes. They may seem tedious and tiresome, but the repetitive quality of activities like these can actually have a soothing effect by short-circuiting stressful thought patterns. The key is to focus your attention on a particular aspect of what you’re doing, such as putting a crease in your pants as you iron them, which will keep your mind from drifting to more stressful thoughts. Focusing on relaxation while doing chores doesn’t take any longer, but it does take away from stress.