Maintaining a healthy level of stress is especially important during your retirement years. The transition to retirement can introduce new financial and health-related stressors matched with the under-load of stress that appears after leaving the labor market.
No matter how old you are you are there will always be some stress in your life. However, individuals over 65 report having less stress even despite having greater health concerns. Stress is often viewed with a negative connotation as “stress overload.” Although too much stress is unhealthy, an under-load of stress can be equally damaging because it can prompt feelings of boredom and leave you lacking purpose.
Stress has the power to reduce your ability to make a behavior change and severely affect your confidence levels. Stress can make you sick, and prolong the time to recover, but stress is also what makes us feel alive. A manageable, healthier level of stress -eustress- should be what we strive for at all stages of our lives and especially during retirement.
Why retirement should be less stressful:
Adults are proven to be happiest in their youngest years as well as again in their 70s and 80s. A University of Chicago study found that happiness levels increase between the ages of 65 and 85. Reasons for this can be attributed to more life experiences and a depth of knowledge. Although you may be decades out of school and no longer working, your mind is still sharp which is why it is important to engage your cognitive abilities by challenging your brain with reasoning and problem-solving activities (think crossword puzzles, Sudoku, reading) to avoid stress under-load.
Don’t discount your experiences. Your “people-skills” and everyday knowledge from years of experiences are incomparable to the naivety of 20-somethings just moving out of their parents’ home and starting their first job. A study at my own university, University of Michigan (go blue!!) concluded that seniors are better at solving problems that deal with social conflicts. Seniors have a knack for observing issues from different perspectives and calmly arriving at a solution.
A huge stress relief in retirement has to do with your job. If you consider yourself fully retired and are no longer working this certainly could be a well-deserved stress relief. However, many people find that individuals working as early as age 50 and above, rate their job satisfaction as “very satisfied.” This can be attributed to having worked up to a reputable position at a company that you genuinely enjoy.
Ways to eliminate distress and find eustress in retirement:
- Spend more time outside
- Stay connected with family and friends
- Be present – use yoga, meditation, or simple awareness activities to activate mindfulness
- Keep your mind sharp with cognitive activities
- Be aware of your financial situations and be proactive when it comes to managing your finances
- Engage your creativity
If you want more ideas for reducing retirement stress, browse our Pinterest page for ideas for crafts, exercises, recipes, and more that can help you manage stress.
Finances can be stressful:
Despite your best intentions, mortgage payments, credit card debts, and everyday expenses have a tendency to disrupt healthy levels of stress. As a reverse mortgage company it is our mission to provide seniors 62 and older with a more comfortable retirement. Accessing the stored equity in your home could be the financial security you need to improve your retirement. With a reverse mortgage you receive tax-free cash* through a lump sum payment or line of credit without being responsible for making monthly payments**. A reverse mortgage loan helps borrowers pay off their current mortgage if there is one and pay off monthly bills. However, many seniors have used this loan to provide them with more security using the loan as an emergency fund to be drawn on in the future in case the need arises. Not only that, but seniors also use a reverse mortgage so that they can better take advantage of their retirement goals by using the loan to finance travel and recreational activities.
*Please consult with your financial advisor.
**Homeowner is still responsible for taxes, insurance, and property maintenance.