Stress and anxiety in middle-aged people

Quite a lot of people between the ages of 40 and 55, who belong to the middle-aged category, are still raising quite young children (grandchildren), financially supporting an adult child, and at the same time taking care of elderly parents. The presence of serious illnesses in older relatives, the transitional age of children, material or other difficulties increase the level of anxiety, can cause chronic stress that undermines their own health. To stay healthy, it is important to know certain preventive measures to keep your peace of mind and physical strength.

Midlife issues: caring for the elderly or younger

Between the ages of 40 and 60, which is classified as average, many families develop similar problems. These are elderly parents, often with a whole bunch of illnesses, or children of different ages, from babies to adolescents, or grandchildren of grown-up children who also need help. The need to care for elderly relatives, as well as for small children, is a serious mental, and often physical, responsibility. 

The problems of caring for the elderly or toddlers are often similar. Both age groups may need help with daily life (bathing, changing clothes, feeding), or they may need to be driven, accompanied to classes or to doctors. Often there is no time to take care of yourself in such a situation, although by this age there are already their own illnesses, problems at work and fatigue, the negative impact of. The burden of responsibility, worries about loved ones, increase the level of anxiety, which has a bad effect on health.  

Caring for parents: problems of serious illnesses

Caring for elderly parents with chronic illnesses may require special skills and knowledge, as well as partial or permanent stay with them. For example, if a parent has Parkinson’s disease, be aware of therapies that can help relieve symptoms, distinguish between signs that treatment is not working, and be aware of ways to help parents break free from muscle freeze episodes (spontaneous loss of mobility common among patients with Parkinson’s disease).

Caring for the elderly with severe illnesses is part-time overtime work, in addition to regular work and parenting responsibilities. On average, if parents have serious illnesses, they need to devote 16 to 26 hours a week. Moreover, women take care of their elderly relatives more often than men. Therefore, the level of anxiety, various diseases associated with stress, they have higher.

Stress as payback

While caring for the elderly and children, constantly undergoing emotional and physical stress, middle-aged adults experience chronic stress, in which hormones are constantly produced that mobilize the body to “fight or flight.” If in some emergency situations stress is useful, then its constant influence is destructive. By continuing to devote time to their children and parents, such people leave too little time for themselves. Sometimes it can be too much pressure, causing, restlessness, heart palpitations, difficulty concentrating, sleep and digestion problems. 

Chronic stress also contributes to the risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Many people try to seize stress, which leads to obesity.

Fatigue, anxiety and relationship problems

A large number of middle-aged people, due to such problems, feel “squeezed out like a lemon.” A 2007 American Psychological Association poll found that 2 in 5 men and women in this group are overworked, and 40 percent of women aged 35 to 54 report extreme anxiety and health problems.

Such excessive anxiety, constant worries can also affect the relationship with the spouse and children. Experts say that loved ones can feel that they have to compete for attention. Conflicts and worries undermine health.

Prevention of health problems

To fully take care of children and elderly parents, first of all, you need to take care of yourself and your health. But middle-aged people are in no hurry to do this. Constant stress can lead to burnout and disease. The basics of prevention start with a healthy lifestyle.

You need to choose a healthy diet. Overly fatty or sugary foods can make you feel lethargic and weak. Stress Prevention – Antioxidant-rich foods (brightly colored fruits and vegetables, leafy greens and berries). In addition, they also support the immune system. Complex carbohydrates are useful for satisfying hunger, complete proteins. 

Adequate sleep as anxiety and stress. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sleep deprivation leads to blurred thinking and irritability, and contributes to the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep a night.  

Physical activity to prevent physical inactivity and stress. The minimum recommendation is 150 minutes of activities per week, such as brisk walking, swimming or gymnastics. Research shows that 30 minutes of exercise per day at 60-70% HRmax improves mood and concentration. It is a natural antidepressant.

Prevention of overload at work and at home is equally important. If possible, you need to make yourself an extra day off or take some of the work home. It is important to enlist the help of other family members, older children, to involve them in help. Communication with friends is equally important to switch attention and rest.

You also need to take care of your own health, visit a doctor and undergo a course of treatment, if necessary. It is impossible to fully take care of loved ones and children if your own health fails. Therefore, you need to follow, first of all, for him.

event_note January 30, 2021

account_box Winona Tse MD

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