Years ago we envisioned our golden years to be full of relaxation and stress free living; at least most of us did. Who in the world would want financial woes, family problems, or emotional upheavals to plague them as they entered their senior years? Most seniors look forward to living a life that allows them independence, the ability to pay their bills on time, the joy of gardening or playing golf to their heart’s content. They want to play with their grandchildren in a park or meet up with their buddies for a coffee and conversation. Certainly that would be most people’s idea of the perfect life.
Although a life without problems is clearly unrealistic as to be the stuff of dreams, serious issues that cause stress and eventual ill health are not the sort of problems anyone wants. In later years, financial problems, death, illness and change can cause a person to undergo more stress and anxiety than they ever imagined.
It is certainly not the end of the world when troubles pay you a visit. There are positive steps you can take to manage the accompanying stress. Exercise, the right diet, sufficient rest, indulging in activities that keep you stimulated, can all help you manage your stress levels.
Why do you need to manage stress?
It is no great leap of the imagination to realize that stress when not nipped in the bud can become unmanageable, ultimately leading to a host of illnesses. You need to be honest with yourself and recognize when stress rears its ugly head. Identifying the underlying stress factors will help you to deal more effectively with stress. We always have to go to the source to correct the problem.
Maybe unimportant little problems mask the real problem lying deep inside. Once you know what is causing the stress in your life, you can evaluate how best you can handle the situation and the necessary action you need to take.
What are the steps you can take to manage stress?
- Accept that a natural part of life’s cycle is growing old and reaching a stage where the body starts to slow down as does the mind. There will be many changes and adjustments to be made; you will now walk at a more sedate pace instead of rushing around doing things. You can tell yourself that this slowing down is okay; there’s a sense of dignity in growing older.
- You are sure to miss friends and coworkers and the bustle of an active working life. Even before you retire you should make plans and explore opportunities for new hobbies and activities you can get involved in. One great way to combat stress that stems from loneliness and inactivity is to get involved in volunteer organizations. It is only when we hear about other people’s misfortunes that we can truly be grateful for what we have.
- Finances can be a major stress factor. It is best to face up to the fact that a retirement income usually means living on a tighter budget. You can seek help from a financial planner who can advise you about the best types of investments to make to get a better rate of return. Be very careful who you approach for help; you don’t want to get scammed and lose what you have.
- Physical activity is a great stress buster. Start walking, join a walking club or get a friend to walk with you. Gardening can be very therapeutic, just digging in the soft earth and planting things can really help take a load off your shoulders.
- Learn to breathe slowly and meditate on the positive things in your life. Start doing a few deep breathing and stretching exercises each morning. Both are great ways to reduce tension and prevent tension.
When you start thinking about possible solutions, what action you can take and what the consequences of that action will be, you have already taken your first step (and it’s a big one!) to managing stress. You need to adopt the approach that believes in the principle ‘there is a solution to every problem’. Change can reduce the stress you are going through as you enter your senior years.