NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Retirement is Stressful?

Retirement is Stressful?


                As Americans age, they often dream of time to travel, new interests, economic comfort and more time with family and friends during retirement. Unfortunately, for many reality is completely different than their expectations. The losses and gains of new roles can be stressors. Leaving a career may mean more freedom, but it also involves losses of challenging work, relationships, daily routine and a sense of purpose. Family needs keep changing too, sometimes in unexpected ways.

                After years filled with the challenging demands of family and employment, may retirees enjoy having time to pursue their interests. Some people, however, find they have too much time and miss the demands of the work world. It helps to develop structure for your times. Ask yourself these questions.

                What are the things I want to accomplish in the next month? Year?

                How do these goals translate into daily tasks or objectives?

                Remember that a spouse or partner may not experience the same stressors or re-act in the same way to losses and gains. Use the strength of your relationship as a resource when managing stress. Share your needs and feelings. Be flexible and willing to take some risks. Plan both activities you both enjoy together and schedule some time apart for individual interests.

                Loneliness is natural when you miss loved ones, leave your home or lose your sense of purpose. How you think about your loneliness can affect how stressful it is for you. Waiting for someone to notice your sadness or blaming others isn’t helpful. Taking some action, no matter how small, allows you a sense of control. You may need to help people understand your situation. Reaching out to others, learning a new skill, volunteering your time – these are ways to ease the loneliness..

                Grief is a normal response to the death of loved ones, long-term illness of a spouse, physical separation, or loss of cherished dreams. While these situations are different, they all result in losses that can cause severe stress.

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