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Challenges Facing Retirees

September 06, 2015

How do I make the most out of my retirement? I’m so used to having a purpose and now I awaken every day and have to think about what I can do.

In an economy such as today’s one of the major issues facing retirees is having the suggested 70%-80% of your pre-retirement income so that you can maintain your standard of living. Most current retirees made decisions about retirement when the economy was in a better place. However, the cost of living we are presently experiencing may cause stress about your financial future.

The purpose of this article is not to belabor the economic situation but to take a look at the emotional aspects of this phase of life. Having a lifetime of activity and purpose come to a screeching halt is the cause of many emotional upheavals such as depression, stress, irritability, insomnia, mood swings, and anhedonia. All of these disorders place great strain on relationships and are usually accompanied by a loss of libido.

There are several coping strategies that will restore your mental and emotional health and help you to enjoy your retirement days. The first thing is to make peace with the fact that, albeit you have looked forward to this time of your life, the change from getting up every day and having a place to go and achieve to having no place to go and no sense of achievement is huge. Find something to do that offers you a challenge and a sense of purpose. Many retirees think that they can’t wait until they have time to “play golf, or read, or go on a cruise”. These activities are certainly fun and will distract you for a while, but they do not offer the sense of purpose you are used to. Volunteer, work part time, make a list of projects and complete them, give of yourself to others! Find things such as these that offer purpose and a sense of accomplishment.

The next thing to do is keep yourself active. Exercise consistently and adopt a nutrition plan that provides healthy energy to keep your blood sugar steady. This helps prevent mood swings and irritability. Exercise released endorphins that help you feel good. Make sure you get adequate rest. Be sure that you get the recommended eight hours of sleep nightly. Restful sleep ensures rejuvenation of cells and helps you maintain or lose weight.

Finally…give! Give of yourself to others. Changing the focus from self to others is a vital part of emotional well-being. Find a place to be of service; a church or synagogue, a school, a nursing home, a soup kitchen. Be a servant leader and watch how your retirement years increase in depth and your relationships prosper.

About the Author
Dr. Connie Ingram is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, and Corporate Consultant. She is certified in clinical supervision for undergraduate and graduate students as well as those seeking supervision to obtain professional license. Connie is an adjunct professor in counseling and leadership studies, a supreme court certified mediator, and a parenting coordinator. Connie is most known for her public speaking and training in the areas of relationships, stress/anxiety, and leadership.