So why do you feel so stressed?
1. Address the Source of Your StressOne of the simplest (though not necessarily one of the easiest) ways to manage stress is to tackle it head-on. If you can get some clarity on what precisely is fueling your stress, you can reduce it by being proactive in managing it.
2. Get Busy Doing Something You EnjoyIt might be a cliché, but it’s a cliché for a reason: Staying active is one of the best ways to manage stress and feel better both physically and mentally during the retirement years.
- Teaching kids to do something you’re good at, like working on cars, carpentry, gardening, etc.
3. Start a New BusinessRetirement is a great time to bring the hard-won experience and knowledge you gained throughout your career into a new money-making venture. It can reduce your financial fears about retirement while simultaneously giving you a goal to work towards and a renewed sense of purpose. In turn, this can help reduce stress and prevent depression from taking hold.
4. Spend Time With People You LoveMake a concerted effort to spend quality time with your friends and family more often. They’ll help keep you company, which helps stave off loneliness and depression, while simultaneously making retirement more enjoyable.
5. Stay ActiveIn addition to pursuing your interests and hobbies, it’s a good idea to stay physically active on a regular basis. Daily exercise and participation in physical activities helps to boost your energy and mood, which in turn helps you manage and reduce stress.
6. Join Other Like-Minded FolksFind some kind of group or club that’s engaged in activities related to your interests and attend regular meetings or gatherings. There are many groups out there that cater to retirees who want to stay active and socialize. Whether the group is centered around political goals, charitable causes, or hobbies, you can get a lot of benefit from getting to know and spending time with folks who share your interests.
7. Travel And ExploreHow many times did you say to yourself during your work life “One day, when I have the time, I’m going to travel”? Many folks look forward to their retirement years for just that reason.
8. Get OrganizedStudies show that organizational skills can help reduce stress. Many people find that the simple act of planning how you’re going to spend your time is a soothing exercise that helps them feel more in control.
9. Reach OutIt can be intimidating to even consider asking someone for help. You might understandably feel vulnerable and exposed. Yet we all need someone to talk to, someone who’ll listen and provide a fresh perspective when we’re stressed.
10. Cultivate and Maintain OptimismStay positive, even when things get tough. While there’s such a thing as “toxic positivity,” and it’s definitely something to avoid, a healthier sense of optimism helps you manage stress more effectively, according to research. Keeping a positive frame of mind can help you manage your stress and more easily spot solutions for the problems that are wearing you down.
11. Adopt a Furry FriendThe simple act of petting a dog can immediately reduce stress and increase a sense of well-being, by lowering your blood pressure and increasing the production of oxytocin, which produces a strong sense of well-being and peace.
12. Volunteer Your TimeSign up to give of yourself, through your time and efforts, for a cause you care about. Donating money is all well and good, and you should absolutely do that when you can, to the extent your budget makes possible. However, giving your time and energy is different, and it helps create a more intimate, purpose-based connection between you and like-minded others. It’s a great way to stay connected to your community and make new friends, to boot.
13. Spend Time in NatureAs a species, we tend to be happier when we’re able to regularly spend a little time in nature. You don’t need to transform yourself into a committed mountain hiker or seasoned sailor. Even a few minutes spent walking in your neighborhood can yield significant benefits for your physical and mental health. It reduces stress and increases your sense of wellness.
14. Make Time for Yourself Every DayEven extroverts need some daily “me time.” Even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes, setting aside regular time for yourself will help you prioritize your well-being. Whether you meditate, rest, listen to music, journal, practice yoga, or pursue some other mind-body exercise, a daily habit of dedicating a few minutes to spend on your own will cultivate the habit of relaxation and rejuvenation.
15. Practice MindfulnessOne way to spend your daily “me time” that’ll yield outsized benefits is mindfulness meditation.
Stress makes the mind jump from one stressful event or idea to the next, sometimes in a seemingly endless, rapid cycle. The result is a stressed-out body, with higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, shallow breathing, increased muscle tension and pain, and the increased production of the stress hormone cortisol.
The Bottom LineWhatever specific strategies you choose to implement, it’s important to manage your attitude and frame of mind if you want to manage your stress. Look for the good and try to spend some time daily focusing on the feeling of gratitude.
At the same time, expect that you’ll experience a wide range of emotions. Remind yourself those emotions are always temporary. If you’re having difficulty with that, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor and consider talk therapy. It can be highly effective in helping you develop new, healthier coping skills to reduce stress and increase your enjoyment of the retired life.