Another Retirement Transition to Consider: Social Interaction
Did you know that isolation is as bad for our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day? I knew excessive solitude was painful, but I never equated it with such physical consequences. Clearly, the potential for excessive solitude is a retirement transition worth thinking about.
I’ve often thought that an important benefit of retirement is having the freedom to spend quality time with others. However, retirement may also bring potential for isolation if we are not proactive. Humans have a psychological need to connect with others. Nevertheless, when we are cold, hot, tired or grumpy, the temptation to stay in our own little world exists. Prevention requires us to be proactive!
When working full-time, it’s often difficult to carve out opportunities to move beyond the mundane in our relationships. We tend to focus more on who’s writing which memo or—at home—who’s cooking dinner that night. It’s rare that we find time to sincerely ask someone about their concerns or interests.
Retirement offers the opportunity to change that. The potential for fewer distractions allows us to truly hear what a life partner, family member or friend is saying. That’s not only good for the person we’re with; it’s good for us too.
An important retirement transition to consider—Generosity Feeds Relationships
Research shows that people who are generous (with their time, concern and resources) live longer, have fewer diseases and are happier. Research also shows that spouses who are generous and kind to one another are healthier and happier in their marriage as well. So…what’s not to like?
Whatever, we’re feeling about retirement or problems we face, we can make it better for ourselves. Sometimes it may not seem so, but simple actions can make a big difference. If you’re feeling isolated or unhappy, reach out to someone. Make time to ask that person how he or she is feeling or how some project of theirs is going. Then really listen! You might be surprised by the difference that makes for you and for the speaker. You’ll feel happier with the person’s appreciation of your interest and forge a deeper bond.
Sounds like a win-win to me. Making time to bond with others is a retirement transition we all can benefit from. Who will you reach out to today?
Please share this blog. The kinder we are to one another, the better we will make this world—and God knows…we need it.