How to reduce stress in retirement

Health
25 March 2021
Most people look forward to retirement. For many, it represents freedom and more time spent doing the things that you enjoy with the people you love. However some people can find retirement quite stressful. April is stress awareness month, and this year we’re sharing a few tips to help you reduce stress in retirement.

There are many benefits to retiring, like making new friends, spending more time with your nearest and dearest, and enjoying new activities. But it’s also important to learn a few strategies to help you reduce stress, just in case you start to feel overwhelmed as you begin this new stage of your life.

There are a number of things that can cause stress for adults that are nearing or in retirement. A few include financial concerns, health worries, caregiving responsibilities, personal relationships and big life changes. But there are ways to minimise the impact stress has on your health and wellbeing.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to deal with stress. It will help keep your body healthy and able to better handle whatever life throws at you. Exercise is also known to improve your mood and help you sleep better. Your mental wellbeing can be improved overall by exercise, so it’s a great way to combat stress. And it doesn’t need to be strenuous exercise. It can be as simple as a long walk or a gentle bicycle ride.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your emotions and learning acceptance. One of the most well-known types of mindfulness practices is meditation. But if that doesn’t sound up your street, you can also practice mindfulness throughout your daily life, during yoga or while doing similar types of breathing-focused activities.

During your mindfulness practice, try this technique for triggering the relaxation response, which is the opposite of stress. Inhale slowly, counting to four as you do so, then exhale slowly as you count backward back down to one. Doing this will not only help you relax, it will also help you become aware of what is stressing you, which will help you then deal with it.

Spend time with loved ones

When you’re feeling stressed, it can be tempting to shut yourself away from the world. But avoiding your family and friends is the last thing you should do. Friendships and a sense of community are essential to good mental and physical health. Also, having a good support system around you will help you not feel so alone in dealing with the things that are stressing you.

Make healthy food choices

When you stressed you might reach for comfort foods, which may be rich in sugars and lacking nutrition. But when you’re stressed is one of the most important times to feed your body healthy, beneficial foods. Junk foods can be delicious, but their lack of nutrition will leave you feel lethargic which can exacerbate stress. So it’s worth making healthy food choices in retirement to help not only your physical health, but your mental wellbeing too.

Get into a routine

Before retirement, you most likely had a routine that centred around your work. Now, you need to find a new routine that feels relaxing yet purposeful. Getting into a routine will help you adjust to this new stage of your life, and deal with any stress that comes your way.

Having a routine doesn’t mean every minute needs to be scheduled, but you may find it useful to have a general idea of how you’ll spend your days.

Ask for help if you need it

If you’re feeling stressed and it’s starting to impact your life and your wellbeing, we recommend reaching out to someone. This could mean talking to a friend or family member about how you’re feeling, or you can go and see your GP to ask for help. Support is available if you’re finding it hard to cope with stress. You can learn more about seeking help for stress on the NHS website today.

 

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Image credit: Simon Migaj via UnSplash