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.