You may have financially prepared for retirement, but are you psychologically and emotionally prepared? Being psychologically and emotionally prepared is equally as important as your financial preparations for your overall retirement health and well-being. The root of the word retirement implies retreat from battle, or stepping back to safer ground. This contradicts the excitement and anticipation of the freedom in your lifestyle as retirement begins.

What feelings does your vision of retirement inspire within you? Fun, excitement, freedom, adventure? Or does it spark feelings of stress, uncertainty, fear and anxiety?  Do you view retirement as a new beginning or the beginning of the end? Retirement is a transition from a familiar lifestyle to an unfamiliar lifestyle. Have you envisioned a new lifestyle and how each day might look? What expectations do you have for your retirement?

Working environments provide mental stimulation and cognitive health through camaraderie, social interaction, feelings of purpose and fulfillment; for many, it is the essence of their identity. Retirement offers a new identity along with freedom of your time, talents, physical activities, social connections, and mental and emotional focus.  It’s a chance to learn to have fun again, make new friends, and have less structure in your life.

For some, the loss of structure, social interaction, cognitive stimulation and fulfillment can create feelings of boredom, sadness, isolation and depression. It is not uncommon to hear people say,“Retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up be”; “It isn’t what I expected”; or “I struggle with it.” 

According to Chip Conley, author of Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder, the most important thing people need in retirement is to reframe their mindset on what they have to offer the world and their perspective on aging. When choosing a job, we approached the prospective with “what can I do?” Conley says now is the time to change your mindset to “what can I give?”

Retirement offers infinite possibilities to recreate yourself and to share your knowledge. In visualizing the retirement lifestyle you would like to experience, ask yourself: “How will I spend my time? What activities bring happiness? What brings feelings of fulfillment? Are there goals or challenges I’d like to pursue? How can I stay socially connected?”

If you are married or sharing your life with a partner, include them in your vision as your new freedom could impede or enhance their lifestyle. Use this new chapter to not only re-create who you are, but also redefine and strengthen your relationships.

Retirement is a continuous transition of living. After you’ve done all the traveling, seen the grandkids, visited friends, tried different activities, take time to visualize and decide how, what and who you’d like to be. This is your time to live, and to be the truest and happiest form of yourself you can be.

Tracy Smith is an energy intuitive therapist and Emotion/Body Code practitioner with AcQpoint Wellness Center and can be reached at (760) 409.9289.

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