In recent decades, more and more medical professionals have said that looking after your mental health is just as important as your physical health. And it makes sense, after all, because when we are free of depression, anxiety, excessive stress and worry, we are more able to live our lives to the fullest.
Retirement is fraught with stress and worry. With changing routines and schedules, concerns over housing arrangements and altered income streams, it’s no surprise many Australian seniors are left feeling overwhelmed. But, as with all of life’s struggles, a solution is never too far away.
We talk through how to reduce retirement-related stress and anxiety to spend your golden years in peace.
1. Understand Where You Stand, and Plan From There.
A great deal of retirement anxiety comes from unachieved expectations. Perhaps you thought you’d have more money by the time you retired, or feel haunted by the remaining mortgage on your home – even though you’ve worked hard through your career to pay it off.
The first step is simple: stop thinking in what if’s. Sit down with a family member, friend or financial advisor and take stock of what you currently have at your disposal. Consider ways to reduce your debts, increase your income or possibly reduce expenses. Anxiety is created from the unknown – so if you know where you stand and what’s about to come, you’ve already solved half the problem.
2. Look Into Your Options
Retirement is not as black-and-white as we’ve been led to believe. If you’ve got questions on paying-off mortgage, housing arrangements or how to curb spending – see a professional. They can offer advice and solutions you may not have known were available.
A good tip is to buy a folder at the very beginning of this process and store in it all the documents, notes and information you come across. That way, everything’s all in the one place if you need to have a brainstorming session or get someone up to date!
3. Consider What You Want Out Of Retirement
As with any stage of life, we often lose sight of what we actually want by trying to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’. Not everyone wants to travel the world or move into a beachside apartment. Sometimes wants are simpler, but no less important! The desire to downsize, live comfortably or stay close to family is just as important as a retirement goal as golf retreats and sprawling art collections.
4. See Your Doctor
If you can feel yourself struggling, don’t do it alone. GPs are trained in mental health and can devise a plan for your recovery. Whether you are 15 or 85 – there is never any shame in admitting to anxiety or depression.