Have you known anyone who seems withdrawn and more lonely after retiring from their professional life?
This can apply to single and married retirees who choose to create a life detached from others. Once it’s no longer possible to hide behind a job and be an important “manager” or “professor,” we have to show up just as “ourselves.”
For this reason, we found that it’s critical to cultivate a healthy sense of Self now. Around 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 today and every day for the next 15 years.
How can HySoS help you now?
It’s common for self-worth to be powerfully connected with your career. But that’s not what a true, Sense of Self is. A healthy sense of Self is valuing your Self from the perspective that you exist separately from your accomplishments and the opinions of others.
As older adults experience retirement, a (possible) decline in health, and distance from family, it’s critical to their mental, physical, and emotional health that they maintain a healthy sense of Self.
Even if your financial health is in good shape, transitioning from your professional life to retirement may be stressful.
You’ve obtained much of your identity and self-esteem over the years from the type of work you do during your professional life. Your income and the important daily contact with co-workers, employers, or customers is ending. As is the sense of purpose that your work was valued and necessary . . . or that you made a significant contribution.
A loss of purpose can be disabling.
If you’ve survived until now by judging your worthiness by the size of your home or the car you drive, it’s time to start thinking differently. Once you can’t value yourself by these external sources of pride, you may find yourself experiencing anxiety and fear.
Isolation can set in if you avoid mixing with others. Some older adults avoid social circles they once belonged to and hide behind rigid honoring of daily routines. They’re only fooling themselves that they are too busy to keep up with former friends and activities they once enjoyed.
Some older adults avoid social circles they once belonged to and hide behind rigid honoring of daily routines. They’re only fooling themselves that they are too busy to keep up with former friends and activities they once enjoyed.
Why is it that all of the noise we hear about retirement concerns our finances? If you need another reason why developing a HySoS now is important, consider this fact: The median household income for a senior in the U.S. is $37,000.
Here are two numbers you’ll like:
1. Your age! Retiring at 65 is no longer mandatory. We are living a lot longer and our age isn’t evidence of the status of our mental or physical health. People in their 70’s and 80’s are physically active and learning new skills every year. There’s no doubt that continuing to exercise your brain and body improves your quality of life.
2. The size of your nest egg – no matter how small. Having a sense of purpose is proven to be more important than your dividend check. Knowing that you belong and that you’re capable of contributing is the secret to self-worth. Psychological security is just as essential as financial security in preventing isolation and depression in retirement.
Are you willing to make a few changes?
If you cultivate a healthy sense of Self now you’ll have a higher quality of life in retirement. You are not your job. Think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. By now, your basic needs are met. Your journey toward self-actualization, or self-fulfillment, increases by the amount you help others.
This is the highest level described by Maslow. It’s “one’s desire for personal growth and the need to become all the things that a person is capable of becoming.” What does this mean for you? If you haven’t found an outlet so far, contemplate: what brings you happiness? That’s where you’ll be your finest.
The SoS Method has found that for senior citizens, (that’s you now!), a Healthy SoS results in:
- better overall health,
- less susceptible to age-specific diseases like Alzheimer’s or Dementia, and
- more fulfillment.
Ready to learn how to plan for years of happiness based on your Sense of Self?
3 Tips for developing your true Self
Now you know. Use the remainder of your professional life to find opportunities for turning your attention to others, to use your wisdom to benefit your community, or to become politically active (maybe for the first time). And remember:
- Connection – Combat loneliness with connection. See your friends as a new family if yours don’t live nearby. Make alternative plans for the holidays.
- Compassion and empathy – Share your wisdom and talents with those who have less than you.
- Focus on the positive – Your thoughts are woven together with your physical reality. Use your new freedom to learn something new and have fun.
The point is this: you can create a higher quality of life for yourself. No one can avoid aging . . . we’re all in this together! Our suggestion is to make thoughtful plans now that align with your values about who you are and how you want to make an impact during your golden years.
Want to access your current state of self-awareness and Sense of Self? Visit our Get Started page for some free eBooks and other resources.