Stress isn’t all bad. Being mildly stressed can actually help us perform better in a committee presentation or on the tennis court. It gives us a little edge, and it’s been around forever. It’s the thing that helped our ancestors outrun the saber-toothed tiger, and though the tiger is long gone, the stress of modern life – even in retirement – can rob us of the joy we seek at this time in our lives.
It’s living with chronic stress – that constant bombardment of worry and anxiety – that’s the real problem. You know that tight feeling you get in the middle of your chest or the pit of your stomach? Your heart pounds; your hands get sweaty; and you wake up worrying in the middle of the night. Eventually, it can lead to health problems by making our hearts work harder and harming our immune systems. That means that stress management should be a priority for all of us.
The good news is that there’s plenty we can do to control the stress in our lives. All we need is a plan! In the next few blog posts we’ll be talking about taking steps to conquer stress in our lives. Let’s get started right away.
Three easy steps to getting started with stress management:
Accept change. On the Life Events Scale used by psychologists, retirement is rated 10th – behind the death of a spouse – but ahead of the birth of a baby. Those are two pretty big changes! Even though retirement is a good change, it’s still a big change, and we need to realize and accept that life will be different – not necessarily worse, just different. Here’s where it’s a good time to practice the mantra that “flexibility is the key to happiness” and just try to go with the flow.
Develop a strong support system. If you’re feeling really stressed out, there’s a tendency to pull inward, to cut yourself off from the people around you. But this is really the time you need your friends and family more than ever. Make time to see the people you love. Share a laugh or a worry because laughter shared is doubled and worries shared are halved. If you feel lonely, reach out to someone else. You may become their support system!
Pledge to move a bit every day. I’m not talking about training for a marathon or even jogging a mile. I’m talking about taking a walk or a bike ride or a swim or even just walking around the house during commercials. There’s lots and lots of research that supports the idea that increased exercise will help you manage stress. It’s a great way, too, to add a sense of control and accomplishment to your life.
Doing those three things will help to tackle and overcome negative stressors. There are lots of other ways, and we’ll be discussing them in the days ahead.
Please leave a comment or question and be sure to leave your email info as we provide information on our book release: Baby Boomer’s Non-Financial Guide to Retirement…50 Tips to Freedom.
We honor your privacy