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:
You know those balls we’re balancing in the air at all times – the ones that represent what we must do and what we really want to do? The ones we imagine ourselves managing so efficiently while we live our retirement dream? Well, mine are not behaving very well at the moment; they seem to be crashing down on my head and falling to the ground in a heap. What happened to the nice, balanced life I had planned for retirement?
“Planning” is probably the operative word here. Part of my original plan was to “say yes” to pretty much everything during the first year of retirement. Perhaps that was not a good idea. I said yes when my nice part-time job asked me to do more. Lots more. I said yes to being the co-captain of the tennis team. I said yes when the opportunity for a second tennis team came up. I said yes when the neighborhood Christmas party needed a co-chair. I said yes to dance lessons and an early-morning exercise class. Not to mention all the regular stuff. You get the picture. You’ve probably been there.
Now I’m in search of the balanced life and the quiet mind.
My husband and I just got back from dance class, (that would be Active Older Adult dance class) and we didn’t do so great on the two-step spot turn. There we were – navel to navel – and I just couldn’t seem to end the turn on the correct foot. Oh, well . . .
Life is a dance and the goal is Positive Relationships.
Like a lot of Baby-Boomer women of my age, I never really played organized sports as a kid. Before Title IX, there just weren’t a lot of opportunities for girls, and it was decidedly uncool to be sweaty and red-faced from exertion. So I tried to avoid it. I wanted to look like Twiggy (something I never came close to accomplishing), but it never occurred to me that exercise might help me with that. Suffice it to say that I spent lots of time sitting down. Dixie was different. She was a gymnast.
Fast-forward a few years. As a young wife with two small kids, I still spent lots of time sitting down, but now I smoked while I sat. One day I dropped my car off for a tune-up and was horrified to find that I had trouble walking less than a mile home. I had to sit down on a neighbor’s stoop to wait out a side-ache! You’d think that would have made me act, but it didn’t. Continue reading Move It or Lose It: Healthy Aging
Baby Boomers – let’s say you are retired, or semi-retired, or working only because you’ve decided it’s what you want to do instead what you need to do, then comes the question. What are you going to do now? You have forty freed-up hours a week. Following the decompression that comes from leaving a work week filled by others, you might wonder how you will arrange this next phase of your life.
In today’s rapid paced life most opportunities, not directly related to “your career,” are labelled as “back burner.” Sometimes, the back burner never gets revisited, while the front burner gets “burned out.” Now you have the time for all the burners. Continue reading Baby Boomers march to their own drumbeats!