Retiring Without Stress

Retirement: At last — time to do what you want, when you want and no more rat race! If it were only that simple. Retirement has many upsides — it can be an incredibly creative, enjoyable time to start a new hobby or business, or travel, depending on your means and health. But if you’re not prepared for the new stresses that often accompany this stage of life, it can be harder than your pre-retirement decades.

Many people find themselves adjusting to a new routine or no routine, moving away from friends or family, feeling socially isolated and dealing with increasing medical issues. Money stress often abounds with retirement: living on a fixed income at a lower standard of living, facing lost pension plans and reduced 401Ks. Society expects you to celebrate your retirement so if you aren’t feeling that way, you may not receive the support you actually need from people who haven’t been there.

During this challenging time of transition, it’s important to remember that stress has been called “the silent killer” because it can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, and an irregular heartbeat. HeartMath offers these tips for consciously managing your stressors so you can fully enjoy your well-deserved retirement years:

  • Listen to and follow your heart. This is an opportunity to really look deeply. What do you want to do with your newfound time? Look for the intersection of common sense and what will nurture you.
  • Social circles are vital. When my parents moved into assisted living, they developed such close relationships, enjoyed group activities, and got to eat meals with other residents. Their wonderful friendships mean the world to them. Connecting with others in person is one of the keys to a long, healthy life. Plan activities with friends and family members, take classes, keep learning and growing and having fun!
  • Take care of your health: Only 33 percent of Americans say they are actually doing an excellent or very good job at being physically active. Don’t stop moving! But protect yourself from injuries (like to joints) so you can stay active longer. Now is the time to eat more carefully than ever before. Get enough sleep. Ask for the help you need physically.
  • Monitor your emotional health: Depression and heart problems can lead to each other so please pay attention to symptoms of both and talk with a health professional. Read HeartMath’s Transforming Depression book if you suspect you need to.
  • Try the Heart Lock-In Technique to generate and sustain heart coherence and reduce stress: 1) Shift your attention to the area of your heart and breathe slowly and deeply; 2) Happy Older Man and WomenActivate and sustain a genuine feeling of appreciation or care for someone or something in your life; 3) Radiate these feelings of care and appreciation toward yourself and others for five minutes or longer; and 4) Be receptive to your heart’s intuitive guidance. Is there anything your heart is feeling/telling you in this moment?
  • Increase your Heart Rate Variability (HRV), which is an indicator of health and your ability to manage stress. HRV decreases with age but can be improved by intentional effort such as using the emWave2, a simple and effective tool for managing stress.
  • Practice appreciation and gratitude as a default habit in your life. It activates the body’s biochemical systems that help to diminish stress and stabilize your psyche.
  • Find creative outlets. Expressing yourself, innovating or learning something new that’s creative will give you pleasure and keep your brain developing peace of mind and overall health.
  • Manage money stress – 72 percent of women stress about money, the top source of stress for them. According to a new survey, 73 percent of Americans find thinking specifically about retirement saving and investing to be a source of stress and anxiety. Only 19 percent of Americans surveyed in 2012 felt very confident in the fact they were doing a good job managing their retirement. Only 32 percent for those who are already retired feel good about it. If you’re not yet retired, prepare yourself as well as possible, including getting and staying out of debt. (Take this 90-second retirement stress test to figure out if you’re ready.) If you’re already retired, reduce expenses, live within a budget, share resources with other retirees, and find pleasure in living simply.

Lastly, check out HeartMath’s e-booklet Transforming Stress and make stress-free retirement a new way of life to truly enjoy your golden years as a reward for a life well-lived!


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Kamia T.
Kamia T3 years ago

Plan ahead, drop your expenses; pay off your debt; find what you truly love and start doing it. That way, even if you don't have a ton of money and can't pay to distract yourself through entertainment, you'll still be happy.

Jenevieve P.
Past Member 3 years ago

Retirement without stress..?? NO SUCH ANIMAL!
I've had to learn the hard way that believing that you can get by on your "Smarts" DOESN'T WORK! .. Nor does believing that "Word of Mouth" exists in our world upon finding work and and creating possibilities..
You might ask,.. How does it relate to "retiring without stress?" Well, Now I'm having to make up for all my years of Believing in the "old ways of how life was!" So now I've created MORE STRESS for myself! I guess you could say that I don't adjust well to the way our world revolves and operates these days!
Seriously folks, .. unless you've been able to put away an abundant amount of money to retire on that has allowed you to REALLY RETIRE,.. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS RETIRING WITHOUT STRESS!

Nanette A.
Nanette a3 years ago

ty for the info :)

Jenevieve P.
Past Member 3 years ago

Retiring without stress SHOULD mean that we be ALLOWED to have Holistic Health Care within our Medical Insurance coverage, less it be on a SELF PAY BASIS!

As stressful as life is, Gee Wizz! .. At the very least, Massage therapy SHOULD BE an imperative necessity for our physical and mental wellbeing, that SHOULD BE FULLY COVERED! In todays times, far and few can afford out of pocket expenses for their medical and physical needs!

Massage therapy might seem like a "Luxury," but in truth, it is much more practical than having to take "drugs," (thus contributing to the ugliness of Big Drug Companies) for pain management and overall emotional wellbeing, less those who do not utilize meditation and outdoor recreation for stress relief.

I think massage therapy and body work are MUSTS for living Stress free, - retired or not!

It leaves me curious as to WHY the public and training institutes don't come together to petition our congressmen to make Massage Therapy a fully covered need under the corporate medical insurance policy guidelines,.. Allowing us to live stress free!

Tonya Freeman
Tonya Freeman3 years ago

Ah, retirement, a time of peace and serenity. I give thanks!

Melissa DogLover
Melissa DogLover3 years ago


Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Vicki Brooker
Vicki Brooker3 years ago

as i approach retirement age i find myself with mixed feelings about it. think i'll bookmark this article. thanks!

Marian A.
Marian Austin3 years ago

Do what good one can. Learn something new. Pay attention to your Inner Wisdom.

Kath P.
Kath P3 years ago

Most people my age still have some type of job. Reality is that you can't retire completely unless you're very fortunate. It's very stressful to fully understand just how much money you actually need to live when your 'home' is bigger than a breadbox and you want to eat good quality food.