People who have retired can benefit from this psychological service.
Retirement is, by many, the most awaited moment. Work life ends and the golden years begin in which you no longer have to worry about delivering reports, holding meetings, being behind the cashier and other really stressful and exhausting tasks.
However, there are those who see this as a moment of great uncertainty, feeling as if they have lost what defined them and that structured their day. Free time becomes tedious and the feeling of worthlessness appears.
To prevent the person from starting a process that will lead to depression and isolation when it comes time to finish work, it is very convenient to plan for retirement and go to professionals for guidance in the face of this great change.
Psychological guidance, both before and during retirement, is a key factor in ensuring the highest degree of well-being in the face of this new life period, in addition to avoiding health problems, both physical and mental, and helping to enjoy this great freedom.
In this article we are going to explain what processes take place during retirement, how to focus the orientation to those who are going to retire and some useful strategies to get the most out of the new situation.
- We recommend: “The 3 phases of old age, and their physical and psychological changes”
Retirement, a big change
Each person is a different world and, also, is their way of facing life changes. Retirement can be approached in many ways depending on the person. Factors such as culture, life experiences and experiences, the type of work performed, family support and many other aspects influence the attitude and the way in which the new period will be lived.
Retirement is the end of your working life, of the profession you have been doing for many years. It is not surprising that most identify with the work they have done, presenting themselves with the label of their work. We are psychologists, pedagogues, doctors, aeronautical engineers or any other profession. We show ourselves to the world with these professions, but when we retire our letter of introduction seems to have expired, that it no longer defines us.
This can be perceived, and in truth is, the loss of an important part of the own identity. It generates a certain void, which can lead to different defensive behaviors, ideas, beliefs and associated emotions.
What can we do to improve the lives of retirees?
In recent years and, thanks to the development of sciences focused on the study of the elderly such as psychogerontology, it has tried to present aging not as something fatal and horrible that once it has arrived is here to stay, but as something that, in a way, can be prevented. Obviously, there is no human way to prevent the years from running their course, but you can influence how the person is influenced by them, whether emotionally or cognitively.
These sciences do not treat retirement as the simple end of working life, but the beginning of a new period in which the maximum potential of the retired person can be reached, since, now, they have all the time in the world to invest it in itself. You can try to fulfill your dreams, do what work prevented you, and enjoy a well-deserved rest. It should be noted that old age was not seen as it is today. In the past, and because there were few who reached the third age, achieving advanced ages was widely respected. Elderly people were seen as references and sources of knowledge and experience.
However, thanks to advances in science and especially in medicine, life expectancy in developed countries has increased, with many more people reaching old age. Due to this, the current cultural pressure is that old age is synonymous with wear, illness and limitations, while youth is what is promoted as desirable and the value to always maintain.
Why is it necessary to counsel psychologically in retirement?
As you approach the end of your professional life, it is advisable to seek guidance to deal with retirement. The objective of this is to be able to acquire strategies to face this great change, and to be able to make the most of it. Good planning, focused on reflecting on what is coming, will always be helpful in transforming the large amount of free time that is going to be available into very productive and pleasant days.
Ideally, companies should have protocols that contemplate how to help older workers manage their own retirement, addressing both economic aspects and leisure and social relations. There must be an interest in knowing the state of those who are going to retire, to make sure that they will be able to face the new situation with the best possible state of mental health.
The uncertainty that retirement implies is something truly terrifying, and it initiates a whole series of concerns related to it: economic stability, health problems, rhythm of life, loss of friends, loss of identity …
People who plan their own retirement have a greater adjustment when this period arrives, that is, they feel greater satisfaction and lead a fuller life than those who have not dedicated enough time to organize this period.
Given the importance of retirement as a vital period, it is of fundamental importance that a series of strategies be developed to facilitate the adaptation of the person to the new change. The figure of the counseling psychologist can become crucial in these types of situations.
During the orientation, you plan how you will approach your free time and other aspects of retirement. It is essential to look back on the person’s life, understand and list their personal experiences, knowledge and experiences, as well as the meaning that they gave to the role they performed in the organization. This is to stop seeing retirement as something inevitably negative and to see it as the ideal time to develop the personal potential of each one.
During the sessions with the counseling psychologist, either individually or in groups, topics are addressed: fear of retirement, uncertainties and the perception of possible loss, in addition to proposing activities and interests that can fill the free time and the void that lets finish a job.
It is of great importance that in these sessions all the necessary information is offered to the interested person, promoting a deep reflection on what their new daily life is going to be, as well as helping them to break beliefs and myths that are held about this vital period.
Retirement Analysis Strategies
There are several strategies that allow you to prepare for retirement and also get the most out of it, transforming it into the authentic golden years of the person.
1. Make a list
Put in it places that are pleasant, as well as people who can be a great support during the process and activities and hobbies that satisfy the person.
2. SWOT analysis
In this analysis, the threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths that this new period entails are evaluated. In addition, it allows you to set realistic goals.
This tool is widely used in the field of organizations, but it can be used in the personal sphere and focus it to satisfy vital objectives.
3. Keep in touch with others
It may seem obvious, however there are many people who, at the time of retirement or even before, go through a brief period in which they isolate themselves. The problem is that something that was originally going to be short can be stretched and become isolated.
Many older people live alone and have not left their homes for a long time, which seriously affects their mental health. That is why, when retirement arrives, friendships must be cultivated.
This, in addition to avoiding disconnecting from the outside world, will help in the person’s self-esteem, since, despite not working anymore, there will be people who will esteem and care for him.
A healthy network of friends has been linked to fewer physical and psychological health problems.
4. Search for new knowledge
Computer workshops for seniors, language courses, neighborhood choirs … there are many activities for seniors that have become popular in recent years.
In these courses, not only do you learn dynamically and you recycle, they also allow you to open your mind when meeting new people.
- Albarracín D. and Goldestein E. (1994). Social support networks and human aging “. In J. Buendía. Aging and Health Psychology. Madrid. XXI century. 373-398
- Aranguren JL (1992). Old age as personal and social self-realization. Madrid. Ministry of Social Affairs
- Buendía J. (1994). Aging and Health Psychology. Madrid. XXI century
- García, AJ & Garcés de los Fayos-Ruiz, EJ (2000) Preparation for retirement: review of the psychological and social factors that influence a better emotional adjustment at the end of work performance. Annals of Psychology, 16 (1), 87–99