Stress and the Senior Man
It isn't easy when your body starts to betray you, and it can be hard to admit that you can't do all the things you could once do. Getting older is stressful for men and sometimes may seem to be fraught with loss: of muscle tone, stamina, sex drive, even hair. Women may say that men get better looking as they age, but men often don't feel better looking as they recognize they have gained weight and lost energy.
Retirement can also add stress in great heaps to your already full plate. The loss of a job, from which you've gained an identity and a sense of worth all these years, can be devastating for men — who suddenly don't know who they are or what to do with themselves. Of course, you aren't your job, and you probably know that, but after 50 years of working, you may feel like you've let go of a big part of yourself.
Even though women typically live longer than men, men often lose their partners and are left living alone. It is difficult for many men to seek companionship elsewhere, and depression, loneliness, and isolation are common problems for men who have lost their partners, especially those living far from close relatives. Making the effort to maintain social contact is extremely important.
What can a senior man do to feel strong, confident, and stress-free? Manage that stress, of course! Try some of these tips (they're similar to the tips for senior women listed earlier — we're all people!):
Stay engaged. Participate in activities outside your home, whether volunteering, playing on a team, painting classes, writing classes, hobby groups, or church. Take up carpentry or cooking, fly fishing or ballroom dancing. Do whatever interests you. You finally have the time, so don't waste it! Maybe you always wanted to learn the law, or how to speak Italian, or how to be a bird watcher. Staying active will keep you fired up about what's going on around you. It'll also keep your mind active, which helps to keep you feeling young.
Don't lose touch with friends. Make an effort to stay connected. Maintain a mix of friends your own age and younger friends. Plan to do your activities outside the home, along with friends. You might help someone else get out of the house who really needs it!
Consider getting a pet. Pets are proven to reduce stress and can provide you with a lasting and satisfying relationship. Dogs and cats give back tenfold what you give them. Birds can also be rewarding companions.
Stay active. Take a walk or do some other kind of exercise every day. Walking with friends is beneficial physically and emotionally.
Pay attention to what's going on in the world. Talk about events with your friends and/or your partner. Work on being open-minded but on having opinions you can back up with good reasoning.
Try yoga to help keep your body flexible and less prone to injury. More and more senior men are trying yoga and gaining great benefits.
Eat nutrient-dense foods with plenty of calcium, protein, and fiber.
Consider taking a daily zinc supplement to keep your prostate healthy. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in zinc. The herb saw palmetto may also be good for prostate health.
Lift weights to keep your muscles and bones strong.
Keep drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep.
More white men over age 85 commit suicide than any other group. Even though women report attempting suicide twice as often as men, more than four times as many men than women commit suicide.
Consider qualified holistic health care practitioners, who may be inclined to put you on fewer medications and help you to adjust your whole lifestyle for better health.
Meditate daily to explore the universe of the inner you. Get to know yourself all over again!
Keep your mind busy. Take up a new hobby. Learn a new language. Read books in a different genre than you normally do. Work out word puzzles. Have intellectual discussions with your friends. Build stuff.
Do things for other people. Service to others will make you feel good about yourself as well as help other people.
Start writing your life history. You'll enjoy sorting through the memories, and your manuscript will be a valuable family treasure.
Whether you are a man or a woman, in your twenties or in your nineties, stress can disrupt your health and functioning. But no matter your gender or age, you can do something to lessen the effects of stress in your life. Don't be a victim of your gender or your age. It's your body, your mind, and your life!