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Retiring Earlier than Planned? Don’t Back Burner Your Well-Being! 4 Simple Steps to Stay on Track


by Denis Wuestman

You just retired from your job and it was sooner than you had planned.   Things happen in organizations and sometimes, ready or not, you are thrust into this next phase of your life. As you think about what’s next you are perhaps looking forward to some time off to help you re-charge. Among the things that should be on your mind is your personal well-being.

During this time your stress level may have increased and bad habits start to creep in that could affect your health.   Routines have shifted. Instead of following an exercise program, you may sleep later or watch more TV, and, it is too easy to open the refrigerator door every time you pass it. You start to drift as tending to your own personal well-being goes on the back burner.

You may feel more irritable, less focused, more tired and missing the routine that a good workout can provide you.   This lack of focus and lose of energy not only has a physical impact, but can result in decreased motivation to take charge of your transition. If this continues on for too long, you could be losing one of the best self weapons to help you move forward.

Way Forward

Recognizing this is the first step. Having a clear goal with the intent on re-gaining your energy and positive feeling is what you are aiming for – that is your motivation. Here are some steps you can use to take charge in building or re-building some good habits:

  • Make time each day for some exercise. Pick the type of program that aligns with your physical needs and abilities. In addition to the physical benefits, the routine will help you with structure.
  • Stick to a healthy eating routine but when tempted by the refrigerator – stock them with only the healthiest snacks. Consider preparing a healthy recipe once of twice a week yourself.   This is not only fun but it can be your “go to” snack.
  • Follow a sleep routine during the week that mirrored when you were working. One person I know added “plus ONE” to this. He gave himself 7-8 hours sleep a night versus 6-7 hours when he worked. The key was establishing a structure that provides focus and energy.
  • Introduce some down time. When you were working what did you do to relax? Perhaps during a long commute you would read or sleep IF you weren’t driving.   So instead, grab a good book every day and read 25 pages a day, or contact a friend for a chat or some lunch. Use this time to take a mini-vacation from the day and rejuvenate yourself.

A Contagious Accomplishment

There are multiple benefits to be gained from these simple actions. You are likely to experience an increase in positive energy and ability to focus. Via exercise, sleep and better nutrition you will find it easier to relax, and achieve a better balance in your life every day. It can provide you with a sense of accomplishment as you take control of your drift and allow you to better cope during this time. This type of accomplishment can be contagious and help you tackle other obstacles.

Wellness is not just about having a healthy heart. It also means having a healthy mindset. Attention to your personal wellness will build upon your personal confidence.   Improvements in attitude and ability to adapt are positive ways to move forward during any transition.

Try ONE Thing

Here are some lessons learned from others that have struggled with this:

  • Keeping oneself well in mind and body makes it easier to focus on other obstacles and promotes clarity of decisions.
  • Routines and structure help maintain a balance during the day. They give you something to look forward to.   Exercise and sleep help to maintain a physical rhythm.
  • Don’t try and do it all at once. Even little movements toward better habits can have a great benefit. Starting and completing even one thing you want to improve is an accomplishment!

Strong personal physical and mindset habits can go a long way in helping one cope when facing any kind of transition – especially retirement.

What are your thoughts or experiences with this?

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