You made it to retirement – congratulations! You devoted many years to a profession and now it’s time to think through what you want your next chapter to look like. While most of us envision being retired as a life of leisure and relaxation (travel, golf, gardening, lunch dates), the reality is that it is a big adjustment. Your once-structured schedule is now open to fill, or not fill, as you see fit. Relationships from work and in your personal life go through transition. Even positive change carries a degree of stress.
If you are feeling out of sorts in your new role as “retiree,” finding an empathetic therapist to work with is a great idea. Here’s why:
1. You have new challenges to navigate.
Retirement life changes the dynamic in your marriage. Whether your spouse still works, or you’re both retired, you may be having conversations about downsizing your home, moving to a new community, or planning how to utilize your resources. After years of spending your days independently at a job, you find yourself getting to know your spouse again; problems in your relationship that have been avoided for years may rise to the surface. Marriage counseling can help you reconnect, learn to communicate more effectively, and resolve conflict in a healthy way.
For those of you in emotionally abusive marriages, perhaps you are just now able to process the toll the abuse has taken on you. Working with a therapist to share your story and learn to set boundaries can be the start of healing from wounds you have carried for years.
Additional relational challenges can emerge. Now that you’re retired, are you expected to be more available to your adult children, tending to their needs or helping with the care of grandchildren? Do your senior parents need additional support now that you have more margin in your day? While you want to support your loved ones, you may feel guilty saying no or setting limits on how much time and energy you devote to caretaking. A therapist can help you decide how to honor your capacity and let go of the tendency to people-please.
Retirement may also change the dynamics in your social life. While some look forward to spending more time with established friends and hobbies, others realize that in their busyness at work, relationships took a backseat and now community must be rebuilt. This can feel overwhelming at first. Counseling can help you figure out where to invest your time based on your values, interests, and abilities.
Not all challenges are relational. If you found identity and fulfillment in your work, you may feel like you are floundering at first. You may not feel as “productive” as you once did with a full-time job. On top of this, physical changes related to aging, or medical problems, may limit your ability to tackle the projects you thought you would when retired. A therapist can help you process your complex emotions related to all the adjustments that come with this new stage of life.
2. You have more time.
Now that you are no longer having to juggle work and/or parenting, you have more time to invest in yourself. If you have neglected your emotional, mental, or physical health, now is the time to make some healthy changes! You may have “pushed through” feelings of anxiety or depression to meet deadlines and the demands of your household. Exercise and self-care may not have been a priority in your day-to-day schedule. If you don’t know where to start, therapy is a wonderful place to learn new skills in a supportive environment.
3. It is not too late to change.
If you’re wondering if counseling is truly worth it at retirement age, the answer is yes! You can absolutely learn new ways of relating to yourself and others in your 60s and 70s (and beyond). These can be the best years of your life when you accept your needs and open yourself to growth and healing.
What are you waiting for?
Our team at Lime Tree Counseling specializes in anxiety therapy, marriage counseling, and trauma therapy. We desire clients to flourish in every stage of life, including your retirement years! Our office is in Ambler, PA, but we also provide online counseling in Pennsylvania, online counseling in North Carolina, and online counseling in Colorado. Please contact us today to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation or a 50-minute session. We look forward to working with you!