6 Mindfulness Tips to Feel Amazing Every Day in Retirement
These tips can help you find the right balance for this new chapter of your life.
Many of us can't wait until the moment we finally get to retire. But once you no longer have to show up to work every day, all that free time can make for a challenging adjustment. You may start to stress over how to fill your hours, and find that your sense of purpose has dwindled. That's why experts like Kate Ingram, MPH, a certified yoga teacher working with The Vitality Dietitians, recommend mindfulness to "help you feel more balanced" during this major life transition. Read on to discover six mindfulness tips that will help you feel like your best self every day in retirement.
Try the mindful time allocation technique.
The sudden openness of your schedule can be one of the hardest changes to overcome in retirement. With so much free time, you may feel overwhelmed in a way that prevents you from actually doing anything at all. To get through this hurdle, Mona Kirstein, PhD, a certified holistic health and wellness coach, advocates for the use of the mindful time allocation technique.
"This encourages retirees to plan their day around cherished activities, such as spending an hour painting or dedicating mornings to a beloved hobby," she says. "Through this intentional alignment of time with personal values, retirees cultivate a deeper sense of fulfillment and meaning in their everyday life, elevating their overall retirement journey."
Get involved in gratitude journaling.
During retirement, you can also ground yourself through gratitude journaling, according to Sameera Sullivan, relationship expert and professional matchmaker.
"Focusing on life's blessings, like the successful relationships we've helped form, fosters positive aging," Sullivan explains.
Paul Daidone, MD, medical director at True Self Recovery in Arkansas, says that you can apply this technique to your life by simply writing down three things you are thankful for each day.
"Gratitude brings with it a surge of good feelings that can help people become more mindful," he adds.
Create a connection with nature.
If you're feeling overwhelmed about this new chapter of your life, get outside. According to Kirstein, creating a connection with nature can be a great way to practice mindfulness with your free time in retirement.
"The Nature Connection Technique encourages retirees to take quiet walks in a forest or sit by a serene lake, deeply observing and connecting with the surroundings," she says. "By doing so, it promotes a sense of calm, reduces stress, and enhances well-being by grounding them in the present moment and reconnecting them with the natural world."
Engage in positive self-talk.
You don't have to dedicate time to developing a new hobby or going outside just to practice mindfulness. Daidone says that positive self-talk is another technique that can help prevent negative emotions.
"Retirement can be a time of sadness or confusion, so it is important to remember to speak positively to yourself," he shares.
According to Daidone, you can do this by writing down positive self-affirmations and reminders about what exactly makes you unique and special as a person.
"It also helps to go through the letters and messages you've received from people throughout the years and read them when you need a boost in morale," he suggests.
Deal with emotional distress through deep breathing.
Retirement may be a huge reminder that you're getting older—which can come with some "emotionally taxing" body and health changes, according to Nancy Mitchell, a registered nurse with over 37 years of experience as a director of care for geriatric patients. As a result, retirees deal with panic attacks and other stressful emotional episodes far more often than most people realize, she notes.
To help older adults through this kind of emotional distress, Mitchell recommends deep or diaphragmatic breathing as a "fast-acting" mindfulness solution.
"A few rounds of deep breathing can help people revert to a relaxed state within minutes," she says.
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Make time for mind mapping.
Another way for retirees to work through mental stress is to use mindful mind mapping, Gary Tucker, a licensed psychotherapist working with D'Amore Mental Health in California, tells Best Life. As Tucker explains, this technique helps deconstruct feelings of worry into more manageable pieces.
"Start by writing your main concern in the middle of a piece of paper. From here, write down all your thoughts and worries as they come up," he explains. "Look back at this map and think about what kind of actions you can take to address these issues."