Roughly 40 percent of Americans fear retirement more than death. Let that sink in. This fact speaks volumes about the role of “work” in our lives. For the purposes of this article, this fact also highlights just how common and overwhelming retirement anxiety is. It is a transition, and like most transitions, it involves stress.
Consult any list of major life events, and “loss of a job” will be in the top five. And what is retirement, if not a permanent loss of a job? However, it’s just one of several reasons why you may feel anxious about retirement.
4 Reasons For Retirement Anxiety
In a recent survey, money was the number one retirement-related fear for 87 percent of responders. This encompasses a wide range of associated issues like healthcare and medical insurance.
2. Losing a Sense of Purpose
When a job defines so much of our perceived worth, it’s not easy to surrender it. Where will you find your confidence, purpose, and even usefulness? Plus, some 77 percent of those surveyed feared being unable to stay mentally active. Way too many seniors equate retirement with boredom.
Aging is inevitable. Poor health due to aging is not inevitable. That said, far too many folks are conditioned to surrender to age as a limit. This causes a huge amount of anxiety as retirement age nears.
The workplace can be a huge part of your social life. What happens when you’re no longer in daily contact with those friends and colleagues? About half of those surveyed named the loss of a work-related social network as a major concern.
5 Tips to Help Ease Your Mind
1. Remember: Retirement Anxiety is Normal
Let’s first address a foundational point. Again: Retirement anxiety is normal. There is no shame or guilt in being concerned about a big transition. So, for starters, cut yourself some slack and accept reality. From this vantage point, you’ll be better positioned to activate the following suggestions.
2. Plan Ahead
This might seem intuitive, but it is not always implemented. If you, like most people, identify insufficient money in later life as your number one fear, take proactive steps. Talk to specialists, self-educate, and immerse yourself in the topic. The more you know, the more control you have. Taking action is a powerful antidote to anxiety.
3. “Hobbies” Aren’t Enough
Life can be rich and busy and exciting and hectic. Just because you’ve retired doesn’t mean you should expect crossword puzzles or aquatic aerobics to fill the void. Aim high, challenge yourself and experience the possibilities.
4. Ask: Who Do I Want to Be Now?
This as an awesome opportunity. No matter what you did with your life, time constraints surely prevented you from doing more. Well… what about now? Your older years are the ideal time to use your accumulated experience and wisdom. Tap into the mindset you had when you first set off in your adult life all those years ago.
5. Commit to Your Mental and Physical Health
This is the foundation. If you commit to your well-being, you’ll have the energy and ability to make your retirement years more vibrant. Some elements to consider:
- Maintain regular sleep patterns
- Daily physical activity is a must
- Make healthy eating choices
- Incorporate stress management and relaxation techniques
- Make new friends/stay in touch with old friends
- Stay open to new viewpoints and ideas
Ask For Help
Adjusting to retirement is undoubtedly a challenge. You can ease this big transition by talking with a skilled therapist. Remember, no person is an island. So, contact me for job and career support when you need it, I’d love to help you along this journey.