Most people dream of the day they can retire. We envision days spent on vacation, having a leisurely coffee in the morning (after waking up without the alarm!) or pursuing long-forgotten hobbies and talents. Hopefully, this can be the case for most people but the reality is that retirement is not without stresses and the need to navigate new emotional territory.
You may have financial concerns. It might be hard for you to maintain the same lifestyle that you were used to on a working salary compared to a retiree’s income.
You may have relationship concerns. If you’ve retired, but your spouse is still working, they may feel resentment kissing you goodbye while you are still in bed in the morning and they are off to face rush-hour traffic and a stressful job. It could be that you feel guilty about that situation too. Or maybe you’re the last one to retire and now the two of you are having trouble filling all this time alone together and finding that you are in each other’s way more than you anticipated.
You may feel loneliness. You’ve spent 30 or more years in the company of your colleagues, clients or customers and now you may find that you are spending an awful lot of time alone. Monday mornings are no longer spent talking about the previous weekend’s activities. You no longer hear news from your co-workers about their children’s wedding plans, their hobbies, or vacations. Lunches that used to be spent in the break room chatting with others are now spent alone (or with your partner or spouse) in your own kitchen.
You may feel like you don’t have a sense of purpose. After years of being a relevant and needed employee, you may feel that all of that has vanished once you retired. You may not feel challenged or stimulated as you used to when you were working. Or maybe you had a physical job and you’re finding it difficult to be stationary.
When is it time to get help?
There can most definitely be an adjustment period after the retirement parties are over. Some people slip effortlessly into this new role while others have to reinvent themselves to adjust to their new normal. You may have to deal with the grief over the loss of your career before you can move on to the next phase of your life and that’s perfectly normal.
If you are feeling depressed, anxious, stuck about your retirement, feeling without purpose and don’t know where to begin to adjust to your new life, or you find yourself coping with unhealthy choices (alcohol, drugs, food, excess sleeping, etc.) it might be time to seek help.
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There is no specific treatment for dealing with the change that being a retiree can bring. Depending on what you’re experiencing (grief, depression, anxiety, etc.), there are many treatment methods that can be successful – Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, and many more. It depends on you and what treatment method best suits your needs and personality. Your therapist will work with you to determine the most effective treatment method for you.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight?
Our therapists will support you and empower you to get through this major change in your life. We can share coping strategies and tools you can use to help you get through this time of transition and help you to meet the challenges that may lie ahead of you. We can assist you in setting realistic goals and timelines for those goals. With support, you can come out of this life-altering transition more resilient and better able to cope with all of life’s changes.