4 easy stress reducers to help you fight the baby-boomer blues

Are you having trouble shaking away the blues? Do you feel overwhelmed, overwrought and overspent? You're not alone. You're juggling the roles of parent, spouse, caregiver and employee and have passed the point at which you can effectively cope and function well.

Perhaps, caring for your parents and your children simultaneously is just a bit too much for you to handle. In today's world, where stress levels in your personal and professional life are at their limit, it's not uncommon for you to need a little coaching to get you on a better road to better health.

20101118_boomerssherman
Amy Sherman

Everyone has had the occasional "off" day when the minor inconveniences and anxiety of daily living make you want to stay in bed, rather than confront the day. This is normal. It's basically the body interpreting the messages from your mind and the message is, "I'm worn out emotionally and physically."

Here are some suggestions to combat the baby-boomer blues:

1. The oldest and best way to master stress is through stress-reduction techniques, first introduced by Herbert Benson, a Harvard University scientist, in the 1970s. However, most people never practice the time-tested techniques or even recognize that they need help. Anyone can learn the relaxation response, which involves slow, rhythmic breathing and visualizing peaceful, positive images in your mind. Just 10 minutes a day will effectively promote better health, physically and emotionally. Studies also show it increases longevity and life satisfaction.

2. You may also want to look at your attitude. Are you taking everything too seriously or can you pick and choose what bothers you? Do you let things roll off your back or must they need further attention, right now? If you keep your thoughts on what you want, rather than on what you don't want, you'll see what a big difference that makes. Reducing the amount of time you dwell on the negative helps to reduce the impact it has on you physically - thereby strengthening your emotional ability to cope with the stress at hand.

3. Another practical tool is delineating some of your responsibilities to others. Can a sibling take your mom to the doctor so you can focus on your son's homework? Can you and your spouse find some R&R time this weekend, while your teenagers or adult children spend time with Grandma? Don't be afraid to ask. It's important to lessen your burdens by getting help from your support system.

4. An easy and immediate stress reducer is to have a library of inspiring, uplifting books or other materials on hand. This might include funny movies, joyful music, taped sitcoms, inspirational reading or just a blank journal to vent. You can use this as your safety net when things get too tough to jolt yourself out of a downcast mind-set.The goal for stress reduction is to use whatever tools you have to lift your mood and rejuvenate your spirit, so you can stay productive, effective and emotionally on track.

Amy Sherman, a licensed mental-health counselor and trainer, is the founder of Baby Boomers' Network, a resource designed to give baby boomers the insights, information and inspiration they need to live their best lives. To learn more, go to www.bummedoutboomer.com.