The need for compassion with ourselves

Talkin’ bout tough stuff alert.

How do you start talking about trauma with the ones you love and trust?

Even understanding our own trauma can be elusive.

If you have been through a traumatic experience, you may understand what it feels to be triggered or experience ‘flight, fight, or freeze’ while under particular stress. But it doesn’t make it easier to understand or accept!

When triggered, some amazing things happen in the brain. The Broca’s Centre in the left brain, where time and language are understood, has been measured to go blank while heightened.

And the emotional right brain lights up like fireworks. This makes your brain chemistry resemble the initial traumatic experience, all the while not being able to describe it because your language centre goes offline!

Talk about the need for compassion with ourselves…

The great thing is, you have the POWER to rewire this pattern and talking to your loved ones can take some of the pressure off and reduce feelings of confusion:

  • Breathe through the moments of re-experiencing stress – raised heart rate, sweat, tingling. Tell yourself “I am safe”. Make the out breath twice as long as the in breath.
  • Describe what happens physically when you get triggered so that others can look out for the signals.
  • Understand that your triggers don’t define you.
  • Have compassion with yourself while the left brain can’t yet describe what is going on and say, “I need a minute to breathe!”
  • Make sure you’re sharing with someone who doesn’t interrupt you or talk down to you.
  • Remember that the trauma is not recurring even though the brain and body might be in overdrive.

You are amazing, and you are worth listening to.

My unique program, Power Up Your Retirement, is another place you can continually find solace and safety as you transition to a stronger YOU!

I provide a high-quality video training series, group coaching, an online community and other educational resources focused on helping women transition into a successful retirement.

Check it out! https://www.powerupyourretirement.com/

Do you talk to your partner about retirement?

Many people have no idea when their partner is going to retire. They just know their own date of retirement.

Since retirement is a HUGE change in someone’s life and will certainly impact a relationship, it’s important to find out what you’re each thinking.

The best action to take is to talk about it openly and honestly and there is certainly a lot to discuss such as:

  • Potential retirement dates
  • Finances / budget / financial planning
  • Tax Planning
  • Insurance needs (house, health, disability, long-term care; etc.)
  • Medical, health and dental benefit plans
  • Revising or writing your Last Will and Testament; Living Will or Health Care Directive; Identifying Power of Attorneys for Financial and Health Care (Health Care Proxy); Trusts
  • Expectations and desires; and
  • Your bucket lists that each of you want to experience together as well as apart.

Once you know what each other is thinking then you will be in a much better position to start planning!

Another situation that can happen is that you have been retired for a few years and soon your better half will be joining you. This will certainly be a transition for both of you which could be difficult and rocky or smooth and exciting or a combination of all of these.

Someone recently told me, “It was on my husband’s first official day of retirement, when he wandered into the kitchen, and questioned my ability of how to fill the dishwasher.” They had a good talk afterwards to work out a few things! 🙂

Again, the more you communicate with your partner the better prepared you both will be – talk about expectations, boundaries, challenges, obstacles and the opportunities that will be available to the both of you!

Fear of social isolation in retirement

Loss of social network is a big concern among pre-retirees. When you will retire from your career, you more than likely won’t be seeing your colleagues and / or work friends everyday but that doesn’t mean that they are gone from your life forever. If you had good work and personal relationships with your co-workers, then these friendships may be strong enough to continue once you have left work.

Like all relationships, however, you need to make time and work on your friendships to stay connected.

If you don’t really have any close friends at work or outside of work, then you may need to nurture your existing relationships and even expand your network.

Some ways to do that are to:

  • Identify your interests and hobbies and join a local club e.g. if you love gardening, look for local gardening clubs

  • volunteer for a personal cause

  • join service clubs or associations – there are lots of service clubs who welcome new members, identify the service clubs in your area.

  • A club that I will be joining when I retire is PROBUS club. Their goal is to provide fellowship, friendship and fun in their retirement and semi-retirement years. Some of my retired friends are members and they are loving the people they are meeting and the experiences they are having. Visit www.probus.org for more information and for a club near you.

  • attend a class at your local college or

  •  attend community or church events

There are probably lots of events going on in your community so pick up the local paper or read it on-line and get plugged in to find out what is happening in your community.

Visit www.powerupyourretirement.com to watch the ‘Ten Most Common Fears About Retirement’ Masterclass video.

Fear of a Lack of Purpose in Retirement

A purpose is very important to living a meaningful life. Ernie J. Zelinski, author of How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free says that, “Two essentials for successful retirement are sufficient funds to live on and sufficient things to live for.”

You may have a lot of hobbies, interests and leisure activities that may keep you busy, however, if you want your retirement to be meaningful, these will most likely not be enough. You may need to find your purpose.

So exactly what is ‘purpose’? Think of ‘purpose’ as your ‘why’ – The ‘why’ behind what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and excited about your day.

Your purpose is your authentic path, being the best ‘you’ are here to be by sharing your unique gifts and strengths to make a difference in this world. By doing this you add value to the lives of others while creating value in your own life. It’s win-win. Your purpose defines who you are and how you will live.

Just because you will be in retirement, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to live your purpose. In fact, if you don’t live your life on purpose, you are more than likely going to feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied with your life in retirement.

Knowing and living your life on purpose is key to a meaningful life.

Fears can be debilitating as they can stop us from achieving our dreams and doing the things we want to do. So, don’t let your fears stop you from living the life you want.

Identify, understand and take action to overcome your fears. These are important steps in preparing yourself psychologically for your retirement.

Visit www.powerupyourretirement.com to watch the ‘Ten Most Common Fears About Retirement’ Masterclass video. 

Marielle Gauthier, owner and principal of Redworks Communications, is a certified Results coach; an Associate Certified Coach (ACC); and a Conversational Intelligence Coach.