How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Retirement

Stress is all around us, and it affects just about everyone. We had the chance to sit down with Ellen Leonard, a stress management consultant and coach, to talk about how to manage stress. Unfortunately, once you secure your retirement, the stress of life still persists.

Let’s learn how you can reduce stress and anxiety in retirement so that you can live the life that you deserve.

How Do We Deal with Stress During the Transition to Retirement?

Retirement planning is exciting. You map out your road to retirement, save and invest money, and the ultimate goal inches slowly closer as you age. Once our clients near retirement and enter the transition stage, there’s always some level of stress and worry:

  • Did I save enough?
  • How will inflation impact me?
  • What do I do with all of this free time?

Of course, for some of our clients, they’re also facing health issues, and that’s just another compacted stressor put on them in life.

Thankfully, Ellen has the answers to some of the questions we have to help anyone near or in retirement begin to work through the stress they’re experiencing.

Who is Ellen Leonard and Why She’s Someone to Listen to?

Ellen has been working in “stress” since 2013 with her business, The StressLess Method. Her business has her going to major companies and helping leaders and employees find ways to put an end to their stress with proper, effective stress management.

Her background includes being a scientific researcher and has been very well published.

Symptoms and Signs of Stress

We notice a lot of people enter retirement and they’re stressed out. The person’s entire life has revolved around working and waiting for this big moment in life. And once they reach it, they have a different level of stress.

Many retirees are concerned if they’ve saved enough or what they should be doing with their free time.

We asked Ellen what signs and symptoms of stress that she sees in people that they may often overlook. A few of these symptoms include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Inability to manage emotions
  • Digestion issues
  • Lack of attention or memory issues

Many people believe that stress is something that they have to live with, but there are certain ways to actually manage your stress. You may never be stress-free, but you can overcome many of the side effects of stress by:

  • Identifying the symptoms of stress that you’re experiencing
  • Correlating a direct cause for the stress

What is adding stress to your life? In retirement, for example, your stress may not be leaving your job. Instead, it may be:

  • You need a new purpose
  • You wanted to spend more time with kids, but you don’t have time for that

If you’re having money issues or concerns, Ellen does recommend working with an expert like ourselves to help guide you to a steady and stable retirement.

How Stress Impacts Life

Stress can be good and bad. The stress of completing a project on time is good for you, but chronic stress can be incredibly challenging for people. For example, you may have difficulty sleeping and over time, this simple little symptom can lead to:

  • Loss in productivity
  • Having a short fuse with friends and family
  • Missing project deadlines
  • Loss of attention span

Losing sleep one night is fine, but over time, the side effects continue to pile on. Initial stress won’t cause these drastic side effects that people are concerned about, but over time, it will impact so many areas of your life.

How to Manage Stress According to Ellen

If you think you’re dealing with stress, the next step is to learn how to adequately manage it. Ellen is the expert here, so we asked her how she recommends that people tackle their stress.

Her answer may shock you:

  1. Awareness. How is stress impacting your life?
    1. Did you have more difficulty sleeping now?
    2. Do you have a short temper now?
  2. Be specific. Maybe work isn’t what’s stressing you out, but a co-worker. 
  3. Take action on your specifics.

When you work through the specifics of stress, you can really learn what’s causing the stress. Perhaps you’re not stressed about retiring, but you’re stressed about all the things you’ve planned to do now that you’re retired.

Once you know your stressors, it’s time to take a step back and begin dealing with it. A few things that can help you better deal with stress are:

  • Get moving. You don’t need to exercise or do yoga if you despise them. Instead, just get moving and do something that you truly like to do. Play with the grandkids, walk the dog, etc.
  • Sleep. You don’t have babies in the house anymore. Take that nap in the afternoon or just sleep in a little longer – you deserve it.
  • Eat consistently. You have the time to eat small meals throughout the day. Eating can help you avoid becoming “hangry” and getting in a bad mood.
  • Find a purpose. Far too many people make it their purpose in life to retire. Now, it’s time to reconnect with what you really want to do now that you’ve reached that goal. Learn what it is you really want to do now.

If you don’t like yoga, meditation or other stress relief tactics, don’t do them. You should be doing things that you think are fun. Find a stress-relieving activity that you enjoy.

You can try stress management on your own, but if you don’t see results, find a professional

Ellen recommends reaching out for help before hitting your threshold. She suggests working with a stress manager to start tackling your stress right away.

You’ve worked hard to reach your goals. Hiring someone to help you with anything from meal planning to stress management is certainly worth it if you can fit it into your budget. You deserve it.

You can also find Ellen on her official website.

If you need someone to help you with retirement planning, be sure to reach out to us today or  listen to advice on our podcast.