Stress, Balance and Memory

Feel like there is too much to do and not enough time to do it? While that can be a challenge more often than you would like, the upcoming holidays often add more to what needs to be accomplished in a short period of time. Take care of yourself and become more aware of what you can do to reduce the cortisol that is produced when you are stressed. It is a way to bring more balance into your day with the side benefit of enhancing your ability to better remember all those details.


1 Exercise: What is good for the heart is also good for your brain. Take a short walk or do some form of exercise on a regular basis or when you feel that you are becoming more anxious. You will return to the task at hand and be able to focus better which will help your memory. In anticipation of the cold winter weather, I bought a long winter jacket so I have no excuse and plan to just take a short 10 to 15 minute walk a few times a day in my neighborhood to clear my head when needed. I find that by doing that I can jump back into the current work project and the holiday “to do” list  with better concentration and enthusiasm.

2. Meditate: Many people hear that word and feel that is not something they can do. What you are really looking for is something that can quiet your mind when you are worried or constantly churning around what you need to get done. Perhaps it is listening to music, reading a book, walking the dog or playing with a child that stops that chatter. Take the mental break you need to relax your mind and you will feel more refreshed when returning to the task at hand. I like to record some of the holiday Christmas shows and then put them on while wrapping, decorating, baking or doing cards. It is a tradition I have looked forward to for many decades.

3. Humor: It is a great stress reliever. Know what makes you laugh and try and seek it out more often, especially during times of overload or stress. It may be as simple as not taking yourself too seriously, lightening up or not getting so uptight about details or what other people are saying or doing. Laugh more often, even at some of your frustrations or mistakes. One day I kept going in circles trying to do too much before I left for work and found myself going upstairs to get a specific thing, getting distracted and doing something else. About the fifth time, I just laughed at myself, stopped, focused and did what I needed to do. I figured at least I got some extra exercise in the process!

Plan ahead and decide what you want to do to decrease the stress level BEFORE it escalates. Or pick whatever appeals to you and note the time of day where you start to feel an attitude or energy shift that is less positive. Try not to let it escalate. Take even a few moments to acknowledge it and put some part of your plan into place even it is for a few moments.

“Nothing can bring peace to yourself but you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
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About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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