Self-Care in Retirement

Since retiring I have spent time reading about longevity and healthy aging. It’s not a new area of exposure for me, but it is interesting that I have time and energy now to implement some of the things/activities recommended.   I’ve noticed that the newest buzzword for this area is “self-care”…so to be current, here my Top 5 Self-Care Elements in Retirement Transition.

  1. Movement – Physical activity everyday is associated with increased longevity, reduction of disease, reduced stress/anxiety, improved thinking/memory and improved sleep. I am no longer tied to a desk and/or meeting room for hours on end, so of course it should be easy to get in daily movement!   Surprisingly, it is not as easy as expected. Some of my favorite things are passive: blogging (reading, commenting, writing), journaling, reading, and crosswords. In a given week I do have yoga, Zumba, and my Walk & Talks.  I’ve recently purchased a FitBit step tracker to see if that will motivate me to move more each day.

 

  1. Try New Things – Retirement gurus agree, plan activities that are linked to your vision/values but continue to push beyond your comfort zone. While not traditionally what you might think of as self-care, trying new things can stretch your brain and/or your body! Take classes, read books, cook new recipes, travel someplace new (even locally).   This month I am trying mediation via podcasts, a glass blowing class, and learning about Tarot!

 

  1. Create & Maintain Relationships – Social connections have repeatedly been highlighted as critical for longevity and life satisfaction. It’s about spending time with people who build you up and energize you. Retirement can leave you isolated as you leave behind the easy connections of the workplace. Intentional planning is required. I set myself weekly goals to connect with friends for Walk & Talks, coffee catch-ups, or dinners out.

 

  1. Healthy Food Options. Eating healthier is a big part of my self-care focus in retirement. No, I’m not giving up my morning coffee nor my wine & whine dates. But I am trying to do more fresh fruit and vegetables, more water, less processed foods, and less chips. I recently tried Hello Fresh meal-planning to inspire me to cook more balanced and fresh meals.

 

  1. Accept My Uniqueness.   This is a big element of self-care for me, and a big work-in-progress. Practice gratitude for who I am and what I have. Becoming aware of your negative habits is a start. Yes, I constantly compare myself to others and despair. D is writing a book and getting it published, K & D & S are all blogging frequently with great content and have so many commenters, R & L & P & K are traveling once again for exciting adventures (Chicago for the weekend, Greece next month, the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights, 2 week foodie tour of Cambodia and Laos), M & R are getting more out of their volunteer involvement (“this helped me find a great group of new friends”). Yes, it’s their Highlights Reel, but I compare what they are doing to what I am doing and I feel behind, less than, off track. Awareness is a start; I know I’m doing it. Now I need to continue to practice the mantra – I am grateful for who I am and what I have.

 

Retirement gives you the time and energy to implement self-care. What are your top elements?

 

Picture Credit: Pixabay

Advertisements

35 thoughts on “Self-Care in Retirement

    1. Hi Jennifer and welcome. If you’re a year out to retirement, it’s a great time to start thinking about many elements that can help make the transition from full-time career to the next stage of life easier. Looking back, I wish I had given it more thought, but I retired earlier than anticipated, with no life plan! My blog became my way of capturing that plan creation. And finding others on a similar journey. Welcome to the “tribe”!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Love these five points, Pat. I’m not retired yet, but am starting these activities now. Hopefully, I’ll be a step ahead when I do get to retire. I have some work to do particularly on trying new things and accepting my uniqueness. It’s so hard not to compare ourselves to others. Thanks for the important reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately I cannot go back in time and start them pre-retirement! Congrats to you for getting them in place now. And yes, the comparative monster is a tough one. It’s about being inspired by others but not denigrating yourself at the same time.

      Like

  2. First two years of retirement I went overboard with filling up my time. Then I cut WAY back on activities and this year am finding myself at loose ends a bit so I am adding back in, carefully, those activities that truly feed my soul. One day a week I go to an art/craft group that meets at our mentor’s home and we make art from 9-2 PM and often have a great pot luck as well.. a great tribe. I play cards twice a month with another set of friends I’ve known for years. I am returning to a once a week position as a Docent/Tour Guide at our local Botanical Garden on Fridays, and the rest of my time is for hanging out with husband, getting stronger at hiking again, cooking (I LOVE TO COOK!) and taking short trips here and there all over our state. My husband and I love to read, I like making art,and self care includes giving each other massages once a week, and meditation daily together. I also find that on a daily basis I was not MOVING enough and YES the fit bit got me motivated! Am enjoying your blog–glad i found it..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Madeline. Thanks for joining in the conversation. I’ve just started cooking again. It was something I enjoyed years ago and then life happened. We ended up living in house with a kitchen I hated. It literally had 5 feet of countertop if you added up all 4 sections. I felt hemmed in and just walked away from cooking anything that required prep work. Our new “rightsized house” has a nice sized kitchen…even an island for extra space if needed for prepping things. So last 4 weeks I’ve been enjoying real cooking again.

      I love your blend of activities… I’m still looking for the right (complete) set for me. And figuring out the balance of me time and we time. Hubby is finding his real self is much more a homebody than me. Some things are working…others are not. But it’s all good.

      Like

  3. Pat this post summed up everything I feel! All my favourite pastimes involve sitting on my butt, I am trying to move more (bought a fitbit 5 months ago – it does help!), eat less chips (my greatest weakness), maintain the few friendships I have left, stop envying the highlight reel of other people’s lives, and I’m planning on taking up a couple of new activities in the next couple of months. We’re obviously on the same journey!

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Leanne, this is why I’ve stuck with blogging. Meeting others who are on the same journey and sharing the fact I am not alone in the challenges, learning what’s working for them and trying it on. I bought a FitBit because of reading about others using various forms of motivational tools to move more. Only into week 3, so not sure its helping except to realize how few steps I get on certain days. Chips are a big weakness for me as well…aren’t all forms of potato simply its own food group? Chips, fries, loaded baked potato… oh dear, now I’m hungry. My solution on chips has been I am not allowed to eat them out of the bag (my rule). I am only allowed to put them into my little snack bowl (hand made by me in a pottery class)…OK, I’ve been known to refill it twice on one eating binge…but it’s not a single serving bag anymore. Small steps. And yes, there are steps on the Fitbit to go back into the kitchen too! LOL

      Like

  4. It is sad when we compare our daily lives to others Facebook moments. I so agree about embracing on own uniqueness. God made us to be our own individual selves not to be like anyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Victoria for your comment. Embracing my own uniqueness is an on-going challenge as I lived my whole life trying to meet others expectations. It’s why it is in my top 5 things for self-care. I admire those who have achieved that ability!

      Like

    1. Self-care can (dare I say should) happen even if not in retirement! Unfortunately as a workaholic, I never took the time to do any of this…so it’s all new to me. I hope others don’t follow my same path in that… and take on these elements much easier than I did.

      Like

  5. I have been working on this self-care thing for a couple of years now and I am finally getting on track with the health and eating and swimming part of my life. I like that you included accepting your uniqueness as a form of self care. Actually, accepting ourselves is the ultimate form of self care. It is also harder than you would think. After all thee years, I am really just starting to understand who I really am and what makes me thrive. Alleluia, it is about time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michele, while none of these elements of self-care are easy for me to do (all require new habit formation and getting out of my comfort zone), accepting myself seems to be the hardest. I’m realizing that everyday the comparison monster is there… being aware I’m doing it is the start! You would also think that after 50+ years, we would know ourselves! But I continue to learn things myself. Life-long learning is good, right?!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi, Pat – My first thoughts to this post were the exact same as Janis’. You ARE a very successfully retiree–you have nothing to despair in that department!! Thank you for this awesome, concise list. It should be handed out to all retirees, and mid-lifers. All great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is one of those posts where the comments section is just as interesting as the original post. It seems we all struggle with #5 … and I think that makes us normal. It’s how we learn and grow. It only becomes a problem when we fail to personalize it for ourselves. I call it the ‘take what works and leave the rest’ approach.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Funny… as I was reading your post, I started to think, “wow, Pat has it all together… I should do more to ensure that I move more and try new things.” Then I got to #5 where you talked about comparing yourself to others and despairing 🙂 . Believe me, you have nothing to despair about! In my eyes, you are a very successful retiree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis – OMG, I laughed out loud! You’re one I do compare myself to as well. You have a great life attitude, your activism, your traveling, your new photography passion(ette)….you are in my eyes a successful retiree that I feel inspired by!

      Like

  9. Hi Pat, these are ticking all my boxes and I’d love to know more about your Walks & Talks. I’m giving a speech on Having an Ageless Attitude in May at a High Tea and I am covering all of these points you have mentioned. Great minds! Have a fabulous week x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue, I love creating fun names for things. It makes them more “real”.

      When I was working, I was known to be not very creative in naming. Someone once asked what I called our new idea generation process (in our department) and I was … the New Idea Generation Process. They renamed it with a cute name (The playPen) and got total credit for creating this new thing in their department. One of my managers even told me I’d have been promoted sooner If I named things more creatively! Since then, I’ve tried to be more creative with naming… and Playing with Words has become one of my “things”.

      Walk & Talks is one of those naming things…. basically, I asked some of the women I used to do lunch with to just walk instead of eat. Kinda like your Saturday Sisters… but it’s usually just two of us, sometimes with dogs. I have 3-4 women I do this with and I’ve explored the idea with another 1-2 folks. Most (not all) are game, since almost everyone can use more movement (and less food).

      Wishing you the best for your talk!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see Walk & Talks. When I worked one lady and I would walk each lunchtime but usually just around the block which was full of office buildings so not that inspiring. My speech is written, the hardest part is keeping it to 15 minutes!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Jim, much easier said than done. Right now, I’m focusing on becoming aware of when I do it and calling myself out on it…hopefully in a joking, lighthearted, non-judgemental way.

      Like

  10. All really good points, Pat. I think for me your #2 (“Trying New Things”) hits me in all the right places. Solitary by nature (which also touched on your #3), the one thing I’m trying to be more open to in retirement is getting out of my self-made box. It’s helpful to get a reminder about this. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marty, I understand the solitary by nature. I personally like a blend of small group gatherings (or one on one’s) and alone time. But, Hubby is much more an alone time guy. So I need to be very careful of creating too many activities for him to “join in on”. It used to be about work-life balance (of which I was all work)… now it’s balance of other things – alone and others, active and passive, inside and out. I’ll be curious to hear about you trying to get out of your self-made box….I’m sure it will be inspiring (and humorous. ) Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Pat,
    It’s all of the above plus a few more for me too. But I was making myself crazy – the exact opposite of self-care – by ping ponging from one thing to the next and feeling completely overwhelmed.

    So I’ve decided to specialize. I’ll say more in a post in May, but the gist of it is that I’m now trying to take five actions a day – a habit, a practice, a reflection, a resource, and a self-care action – focused on one specific thing each week. It’s early days yet but it seems to be helping me. I’m not saying that everyone needs it – your weeks sound really idyllic to me (see there’s that comparison monster!) – but I’m just not getting a handle on my time and need to do something.

    Thanks for your post, Pat. I always feel more hopeful when I read about what you are thinking and doing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Karen. That comparative monster is a killer! As I read the various bloggers final installments of A to Z, I had huge “less than” feelings. I needed to re-read my own post… and focus in on my own things. Finding what works for us – that is what we need to do! Although I’ll be interested in your five actions when you post. For me, I try and accomplish one “big” thing a day – hah! Comparison monster coming and you haven’t even posted.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s