Retirement may not be what you expect!
People often look forward to the day they can retire. It’s a long awaited end to the daily treadmill of travel, meetings and deadlines imposed by others. For many people, simply no longer having to suffer the daily commute or the awful boss promises to be enough of a goal. By leaving work, and that alone, they will be happy and content.
However, as the picture shows, things are sometimes more complicated than they seem. Retirement might not be quite as straightforwardly awesome as you’d imagined.
Other people might have truly loved their jobs. Perhaps they dreaded their career coming to an end. Sometimes a career can be truly fulfilling and the thought of it coming to an end can fill a person with fear.
Every life-stage comes with its hopes and fears. Change is always a challenge. Starting school, leaving education, getting married, having kids, kids leaving home and so forth, the different life stages all come with unique challenges and difficulties. Sometimes we step from one stage of life into another with confidence and strength. Others can knock us for six.
If your retirement isn’t feeling quite as wonderful as you expected (or is proving just as awful as you’d feared), hypnotherapy could help. I’ve used hypnotherapy to help people in Reading, London, Oxford, Thame and Wallingford to adjust to this phase of their life. If you need a little help then read on, before picking up the ‘phone and giving me a call.
Is there a sense of loss?
There are some people who love their jobs enormously. It gets them up in the morning, out of the house and into the wider world. They make friends, enjoy the human interaction and find satisfaction in the mental stimulation. It leaves them with a sense of achievement.
For some people their job, their career, their status proves to be a major – or THE major source of self-esteem and identity. A job can give us a title, a sense of importance and suchlike. A job can come to define our very identity.
After all, it feels wonderful to be valued, to have a sense of purpose and a reason to wake up.
People like to be valued. People like to feel important. Many people like power and the ability to shape their environments. Those who rose to the top of their careers can feel a great sense of loss when they finally realise that they have just become another retiree.
Are you now feeling like just another old person, someone who has lost their sense of self? Do you miss having people jumping at your command and listening to your every word of wisdom? Do you miss that sense of purpose, drive and satisfaction?
If so then perhaps I could help you to rediscover yourself. You were never just a title, a job, a position. You are more than simply a name badge on an office door. You are important in your own right. I could help you to discover a new sense of importance, identity and purpose.
A sense of purpose, as Victor Frankl once wrote, is essential. Somebody close to me was recently forced to give up the vocation they loved. Being of a certain age, dementia set in and it’s truly horrible to have to witness the decline. Perhaps I could help you to discover a new sense of purpose, a reason to get up in the morning.
What could be the problem?
People in both groups can find retirement problematic. The latter group, obviously, lose a source of pride, social interaction and purpose when they retire. The former group, on the other hand, have often spent so long looking forward to retirement that they actually have no idea what a jolt it can be when it finally arrives.
Husbands and wives can find themselves living in each other’s pockets once both are retired. This can bring its own strains during the period of adjustment. The kids have probably moved out and the house and its contents can become less a source of rest and relaxation and are, instead, seen as a tedious prison.
It can be a hard shock to the system
Many of my retired clients find that boredom sets in and boredom can lead to worse things such as depression and a loss of a sense of purpose.
Researchers from the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs found that people are 40% more likely to suffer from depression soon after retirement and 60% more likely to find themselves on medication. You spent your whole life working and now this? What’s the point?
There is more to life than work and I do understand how easy it is to fall into the trap of measuring your sense of self-worth through employment.
I could help you to rediscover life outside of the office. I could help you to rediscover alternative sources of joy, achievement and satisfaction.
Don’t feel as if retirement has to be an ending.
It could be a wonderful new beginning, a new source of life and a new identity.
I have helped others in Reading, Oxford, Wallingford and Thame to come to terms with this change in lifestyle. I could help you too. Get in touch and I’ll explain how.
How could hypnotherapy help you?
I help such clients to rediscover themselves and the enormous potential of that time stretching out before them. This is the time when old passions can be revived and new passions discovered. This is the time when relationships can be rekindled, grandchildren enjoyed and a new sense of identity fostered.
These could be the best years of your life
Retirement could provide the best years of your life and if you’re currently finding it difficult to imagine how that could possibly happen then you and I need to talk. I’ve used hypnotherapy in Reading, London, Oxford, Wallingford and Thame to help people acclimatise themselves to new stages in life.
I’d be glad to talk with you, helping you to see that you could follow in the footsteps of former clients who went on to form busily active and purposeful lives bursting with meaning, optimism and fun.
If you don’t do it now, when will you?
Top tips for enjoying your retirement
- Taking regular exercise. Exercise is more than just a buffer against physical complaints. There is plenty of research to show that regular exercise increases endorphin levels and these guard and foster a sense of well-being.
- Find a new role. You could either devote time to grandchildren, your spouse or else take up part-time employment or voluntary work. Giving ‘something back’ fosters a sense of purpose, a sense of worth and involves us with other people. Isolation is the very last thing a retiree needs. You are far from being on the ‘scrap-heap’, you have the chance to build a whole new meaning to the rest of your life.
- Keep your brain active. Mental stimulation is vital and without it we can become bored and slide into depression. Find something, anything which keeps the grey cells firing and life will acquire a new sense of lustre.
- Accept that this is a transition period and will not immediately seem as if you’ve found paradise. Take the time to allow things to settle and don’t build up expectations so high that the initial experience of retirement can only be a disappointment. On the other hand, if the early days of retirement seem like heaven, bear in mind that those days of care-free golfing will begin to pall with time. Retirement will last for years and needs planning, realism and structure. See beyond the first holidayesque few weeks. Retirement, for most people, will bring a range of fluctuating emotions. Accept that they are all valid and ride the waves until things begin to settle. Beating yourself up because you’re not as ecstatic as you thought you would be won’t help.
- Work at not working! Don’t begin sleeping in to a ridiculous hour or staying up half the night because there’s no work in the morning. Retirement can be as active and responsible as working life was. Don’t fall into bad habits. Give yourself longer in bed, certainly. Stay up a little later if you like to but don’t overdo it.
- Don’t allow life to become a drudgery of predictable routines. Now’s the time for spontaneity!
- Create a list of things you want to achieve during your retirement and do something, everyday, to take you one step closer to your goals. Don’t over-stretch yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will a happy retirement be.
- If you’re not quite retired yet then reappraise your sense of identity. If work has been a prominent source of self-esteem then refocus your attentions on family and interests outside of the office. You’ll need these all the more once you collect your gold watch (haha – as if these things exist any longer…)
- Have a realistic sense of your financial position. If you have no idea of what this may be then consider approaching a financial advisor for advice. Having a realistic appreciation of what you can expect from your pension arrangements will help soften the transition and having a plan will put you in control.
- If your relationship with your spouse or partner is fraying at the seams then take steps to remedy this before you retire. Facing retirement as a team will be far easier. Recognise that you’ll need your own space from time to time and that your already-retired spouse will need to adjust to your increased presence at home. Recognise that the balance of power between you and your spouse will shift. If you were once the main earner then you may no longer have the financial clout you once had and you’ll possibly need to pitch in a little more with domestic tasks.
- Nurture your social networks before retirement. Have that group of supportive friends ready and waiting for the first day of the rest of your life. If you’ve neglected this then it’s never too late. Make some calls today!
- Deal with any lingering ‘mortality issues’ before retiring. There’s more to this phase of life than awaiting that meeting with your maker. If this is how you see things then consider the fact that the gap between retiring and death could be decades. Stare death in the face and see that it could be a long, long way away. Besides, you could be too busy enjoying life to care.
Don’t fall victim to post-retirement depression. Do something about it before you retire or as soon as you read this article. If you experience difficulties in adjusting then accept them as normal and consider giving me a call. I’ll be glad to hear from you.