Give Yourself Some Me-Time: Quiet Spaces for Reflection & Relaxation in Retirement

by Mary on July 31st, 2017

Chances are you felt pulled in all directions when you were working. You worked to please your boss, your client, and your co-workers. At home you had to be there for your spouse and kids, and your siblings and parents vied for your attention too. Retirement was the light at the end of the tunnel–the time when you could look forward to relaxing and having more time. But it turns out that retirement isn’t the multi-year vacation many people thought it would be.

Reflection & Relaxation in Retirement

Your time is used differently now–your spouse, kids, and family are still in the picture, but now you have all these other activities to occupy your time too: trips to see friends you haven’t seen in ages, visiting the grandkids, volunteering at the arts organization you’ve supported for years, dinner plans with new friends three nights a week. Plus, if you live in a 55+ community how can you possibly resist all of the amazing activities right at your doorstep? You used to think you’d have all the time in the world when you retire, and it turns out you don’t.

Remember that concept of me-time you used to hear about? Well it’s just as important in retirement as it is when you were working. Finding time to spend with yourself is a crucial part of well-being. Me-time is the time when we can relax, reflect on recent events, and recharge so we can be our best selves when we are around others.

If you and your spouse or partner have recently retired you may feel like the dynamic at home has shifted enormously. You no longer have the kids at home to care for, or the office to worry about. You’re left with a lot of time with your spouse, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your time with them. Spouses who have some separate interests often report being happier in their marriages. Think about what a joy it would be to pursue a passion of yours while your spouse pursues a passion of theirs, and when you come together you can share with each other what you learned and experienced independently.

Conversely, are you out on your own adventure while your spouse is home? Encourage them to pursue their own goals. Set a good example by doing what you love and coming home to share your day with your partner.

It doesn’t require a lot of time or money to take advantage of me-time. Consider me-moments: a long bath, a walk with the dog, sitting down with a cup of coffee to enjoy a book without interruption. You can kick it up a notch and pursue a creative interest or class you’ve thought about for a time (one that your spouse or friends aren’t interested in).

It’s understandable that many people have a hard time taking me-time because they perceive it to be selfish. Repeat after me: taking care of yourself is never selfish. Taking care of yourself is the first step in taking good care of others. If you are stressed, ill, or distracted you will never be able to be fully present for those you love.

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