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Today’s Building Block: Wellness
What does an emotionally intelligent retirement look like? In this 4th edition of the Retirement Roundtable, two of our favorite previous guests, Kate Schroeder & Nick Wignall, return to discuss the questions to ask yourself now to be well prepared for the emotional aspects of the transition to retirement.
Kate Schroeder is a psychotherapist in private practice. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Nationally Certified Counselor, and owner of Transformation Counseling, LLC.
With over 25 years in the mental health field, her clinical background includes experience as a school counselor, mental health therapist in an urban university’s counseling center, individual, couples, group, and family therapist, and clinical researcher. Within these settings, Kate has provided individual, group and family counseling for clients experiencing difficulties in areas including depression and anxiety, adjustment and transitional concerns, C-PTSD, acculturation and multicultural issues, family and childhood conflicts, interpersonal relationships, grief and trauma, eating disorders, LGBTQ issues, self-efficacy, career exploration and various other interpersonal conflicts. Kate also holds certification as a massage therapist, physical trainer and physical education teacher. In addition to her private practice, she also teaches graduate courses to counselors in training.
Kate joins us again from St Louis.
Nick Wignall is a licensed clinical psychologist who is Board-certified in behavioral and cognitive psychology. He’s the founder of the popular newsletter, The Friendly Mind, with practical, evidence-based advice for emotional health and wellbeing. The newsletter is read by 50,000+ people each week and his writing has been featured in media outlets like NBC, Business Insider, Inc Magazine, Aeon and Medium. Nick is the author of Find Your Therapy: A Practical Guide to Finding Quality Therapy, .a guide to learning about the most important factors in choosing a therapist and how to go about finding a good one, either for yourself or someone you love. He did his doctoral training in clinical psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, including research in human genetics and psychopharmacology. Prior to that, Nick earned his Masters in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s in English Literature from the University of Dallas.
Nick joins us again form Albuquerque, New Mexico.
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Wise Quotes from This Retirement Roundtable
On Exploring Who You Are
“So much research out there now shows that adjusting to retirement has its own set of difficulty and challenges for many, many people, especially for a lot of people who’ve identified a lot with their work and they’ve gotten a lot of accolades and self-esteem and identification from the work that they do. They often struggle in some cases more than many other people because work was such a big part of their environment. There’s been a big huge association between work and mental health. And so it really underscores the necessity of having conversations like this because we have to think, when we think about retirement without a doubt, we have to just like people start saving financially for retirement very early on, beginning that early preparation and exploration of your emotional self and who you are as a person and what brings you meaning is really going to be the key to be able to find balance and integrate long before it comes time to actually hang up your keys and move into that retirement place. So my biggest emphasis for folks who are in this part of their life is that if you haven’t already, there is definitely a necessity for you to begin exploring who you are. And I’m not talking about the who you are in terms of your work….But I’m talking about those deeper places of learning who you are, about what brings you deep meaning, what gives you purpose, what kinds of people do you like to interact with. And I’m not saying you tolerate, I’m saying what feeds you. And so the years leading up to retirement are incredibly pivotal for increasing this, I believe pretty essential to begin asking yourself questions like: What do I want out of my life? What do I want out of this next part of my life? …So I think starting early to learn about this emotional part of who you are is critical. If someone wants to successfully retire, you’ve got to begin the exploration now.” – Kate Schroeder
“…I remind myself all the time, it’s not what you know about yourself that’s going to get you anywhere in life or not. It’s what we don’t know that keeps us from getting there. That’s the piece we have to work on. And so to me, emotionally intelligent people are willing to do that. They’re willing to feel a little something along the way and understand that life is up and down. And in the process of discovering myself, that’s going to be part of the learning is making room for all of those feelings. And really the last thing I’ll say about this is I think it’s so crucial to help people learn. We talk about meaning and purpose that comes to us through the form of our feelings over time. What we have to do is also make sure that we have a strong connection to our bodies and who we are, because our bodies are going to be the conduit for so much wisdom and information about what feeds us and what doesn’t.” – Kate Schroeder
On Labelling Emotions
” …a very small, but powerful, habit I think people can build to start to improve emotional awareness and intelligence is to notice that urge to intellectualize, to avoid the actual emotion by using a concept or an idea and instead say it like a 6-year-old, how would a little kid describe how I’m feeling right now? And just say that maybe it’s to someone else, you’re in a conversation or maybe just in your own self-talk, when you’re reflecting on how you’re feeling, use language that’s plain and direct when it comes to your feelings and your emotions rather than these kind of convoluted, overly conceptual intellectualization. And that’s one way I think to start to get, it’s a cheesy word, but in touch with what you’re feeling, which is the the doorway to emotional intelligence and understanding yourself on that level a lot better.” – Nick Wignall
“…there’s this old saying, and we’re all athletes here, but in sports and people would say the best offense is a good defense. But I think when it comes to coming out of retirement and these questions of identity and purpose and loss, really, I think you can flip that to pretty good effect, which is the best defense is a good offense. And what I mean by that is I think a lot of people get stuck trying to cope with loss, trying to mitigate the effects of a lot, like: Oh my God, I was this a partner, a VP in this big company. I had so much prestige and influence and respect and all that, and how do I deal with the loss of that? And I’m not saying that’s not an important question, but there’s a sense of proportionality where if all your time and energy is going to mitigating and coping with one particular loss in one aspect of your identity, there’s opportunity costs there. That’s all time and energy that could be put toward. What can I build? What can I bring in? What new aspects of my identity can I uncover or construct? Or whatever kind of metaphor you want to use. My guess is that most people would be far better off channeling more of their energy in that direction rather than putting it all into playing defense and coping with a particular loss…The overall mindset is like, this is who I am, and now it’s gone and I’m a shell of myself now because of that. No, that was one part of who you were at this stage of life. There are almost an infinite number of possibilities going forward, and that sounds nice. You’re listening to this, you’re like, yeah, yeah, okay, that sounds nice. But to really think about that, what would that mean if I saw myself as full of potential options going forward?” – Nick Wignall
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About Your Podcast Host
Joe Casey is an executive coach who also helps people design their next life after their primary career and create their version of The Multipurpose Retirement.™ He created his own next chapter after a twenty-six-year career at Merrill Lynch, where he was Senior Vice President and Head of HR for Global Markets & Investment Banking. Today, in addition to his work with clients, Joe hosts The Retirement Wisdom Podcast, which thanks to his guests and loyal listeners, ranks in the top 1 % globally in popularity by Listen Notes, with over 1 million downloads. Business Insider has recognized Joe as one of 23 innovative coaches who are making a difference. He’s the author of Win the Retirement Game: How to Outsmart the 9 Forces Trying to Steal Your Joy.
The views and opinions expressed by guests on The Retirement Wisdom Podcast are solely those of the guests and do not reflect the opinion of the host or Retirement Wisdom, LLC. The Retirement Wisdom Podcast primarily covers the non-financial aspects of retirement. From time to time we may invite guests who discuss other aspects of retirement planning, solely for educational purposes. Listeners are advised to consult qualified financial, psychological and/or medical professionals on those matters.