Feeling Loss in Retirement

Retirement – Career/Work Loss with Heather Stang


Introduction to Heather and her work


3:45 Retirement is a major change in life which results in a normal loss reaction. Feeling loss of daily routine, identity, sense of meaning are all common. It is normal to feel loss as one shifts from daily work life to retirement.

6:00 Who are you now? Need self-compassion because you and your life are changing and need time and effort to feel comfortable in new role. List the quality/traits that you have that are not work-related is one technique to find the retirement you – spouse, parent, grandparent, volunteer, community member etc. Find how to relate to yourself in a non-work environment. Explore who you are now? What is your passion? Not easy and takes effort but needs self-compassion.

Kristen Neff: Self-compassion has three elements

a)       Self-kindness – how do you talk to yourself? Is it positive or negative? Humans have a negativity bias: where they pay attention to the negative more than the positive. Obsess over what is wrong, rather than what is right.  Be aware of your self-talk; will probably tend toward the negative because this is a major life change which takes effort to craft new role. Consciously  be aware of what you are saying and try to be neutral if not positive in your self-talk.

b)      Common Humanity – most people who retire will be stressed because of this major life change.  Normal human reaction to change. Build or join a community of others in similar situations.

c)       Mindfulness – state of mind of being aware, present, compassionate in the moment. Build resilience for the major change of retirement. Use mindfulness to check out what is missing when retired – connection?, meaning? Purpose?

17:00 Many are retiring and then returning to work.  Be aware why they are returning? What is their motivation? Are you avoiding something, or you truly love the job, or financial reasons. Good to understand our motivations. Know and understand why you are returning to work. Afraid of the void, the habits of work etc. These feelings of fear, distress, etc. are signals that something is out of balance. Be self-aware and explore the reasons for these feelings so that you can create the life you really want in retirement. Using mindfulness to step out of our habits and become aware of the moment. Find something new or something that you haven’t had time to do recently. Use mindfulness to find something new and or creative to encourage mental flexibility.

27:30 Time does not alleviate grief or loss but what you do with the time that will lead to lessening of these emotions. It is different for each person; each must find their own  purpose and meaning and that can  be a variety of things.  Finding meaning through activities is important in retirement.  Be open to opportunities that may be very different from what you have done previously or want to do .

34:09 Do retirement your own way. Create space to listen to yourself.


Website: www.minfulnessandgrief.com

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