Stress, Aging and Grandparenting: Death of family members and spouses, problems of adult children, declining health, retirement, and more add to the stress of those of us who are a grandparenting age.
AgingCan Be Stressful Aging and Grandparenting
Grandparents face many stressul life changes and stress-inducing facets of life: death of a spouse, divorce of a long-time spouse, declining health, retirement, divorce and other problems of adult children to name a few.
Headache and increased susceptibility illness are common results of stress.
Stress is the body’s physical, mental, and chemical reaction to circumstances that frighten, excite, confuse, endanger, or irritate us. It can depress us, irritate us, and even make us susceptible to chronic or life-threatening disease.
Having reached the middle-to old age of most grandparents, we face deaths of our family members, death of our spouse, divorce from a long-time spouse, divorce and other problems of adult children, and our own declining bodies. Even the long-awaited birth of a new grandbaby can be stressful.
Yet stress in itself can contribute to the decline of our bodies and the rise of chronic diseases.
What can we do to reduce stress in our own life?
Research has shown good nutrition and sleep to be good coping strategies for combating the extra demands that stress places on your body. This is especially important for the first two years after spousal death or after separation/divorce.
Physical exercise is the king of stress relief. It relaxes your tensed muscles, increases your energy, helps you sort out problems, and improves your immune system and your self-image.
A regular program of aerobic exercise for at least 20 minutes three times weekly help counteract the physiological and psychological toll that stress causes. Aerobic exercise can be fast walking, bicycling, swimming, aerobic dancing, rowing, or jogging.
Physical exercise has another bonus. It improves the way you look to others and raises your self-esteem. Often high self-esteem makes you better able to cope with stress.