First published at Sixty and Me on October 11, 2016
“There’s often a combination of excitement and anxiety as people approach retirement. The excitement comes from having more free time, but the anxiety comes from figuring out how much can I afford to spend? And what will I do with all that time?” – Kevin Reardon
We spend years dreaming about our retirement. All of the things we will do, and all of the time we will have to do them, are often the center of these aspirations.
Still, many people report that all of the free time they thought they would have is quickly booked with errands and family responsibilities or is limited because of tight budgets and unexpected financial restraints.
Taking time for yourself is just as important as making time for your family and loved ones. Deliberately setting aside “you” time can make you happier, more relaxed, and better able to manage all of life’s To Do’s. Here are just four ways to create a relaxing experience on a budget that won’t stress you out.
RELAX WITH READING
“It is both relaxing and invigorating to set aside the worries of life occasionally, seek the company of a friendly book… from the reading of ‘good books’ there comes a richness of life that can be obtained in no other way.” – George B. Hinkley
Reading has the power to sweep you up and carry you away. With a world of possibilities in each book or magazine article, anyone can go on an exciting voyage without ever leaving the comforts of their home.
And it even has proven benefits! A 2009 study at the University of Sussex found that reading can reduce stress by up to 68%, lower heart rates, and ease muscle tension.
If you aren’t already an avid reader, it may be hard to know where you start. I’ve heard a lot of people say you can just pick up a book, but with so many possibilities for almost any taste, the choices can be overwhelming.
For a good starting point check our Stephanie Raffelock article, or re-read an old favorite! Stories have a delightful way of changing meaning for us overtime. Re-visiting a book from your past can take you on a wonderful trip down memory lane and even allow you time to reflect on how far you’ve come.
POUR A CUP OF TEA
Nothing is quite like being curled up with a warm cup of tea and a good book in hand. As an avid coffee drinker, I’ve always felt a bit reluctant to succumb to the soothing powers of tea. But as I take these last sips of my Chamomile infusion, it’s hard to deny the sense of calm that has washed over me.
Tea enthusiasts have a favorite flavor for almost every mood. Maybe it’s all the coffee I drink, but to unwind I particularly enjoy a cup of Chamomile, Lemon Balm, or Catnip, which are all renowned for their calming effects.
Too crunched for time? A cup of tea can also be the perfect excuse to take a quick break on those overly busy days. For more on Teas that are sure to put you in a relaxation mood check out The Daily Tea.
LISTEN TO MUSIC
Music is a critical piece to your relaxation day and will set the mood for the occasion. For a relaxation, session try soft classical music, lullabies or non-rhythmic instrumental background music. The soothing sounds will simply make all of those daily worries drift away.
Much like reading, listening to classical music has a physiological effect on our bodies, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones. No matter what you enjoy listening to, music will undoubtedly be the perfect addition to “you” time.
For some fun, try revisiting old favorites or explore new styles and genres. “If you dig” is a great site that allows you to type in the kind of music you like and it will provide you with a list of other artist and songs you might also enjoy.
It was to my complete surprise and delight that meditation was not just sitting and staring at a wall! Okay, there is a lot of sitting and staring… but there is also a focus on breathing, posture, and mindfulness.
One beginner’s class is quite effective in teaching the proper technique and even to begin to receive all of its fantastic benefits like stress relief, increased happiness, improved concentration, and cardiovascular and immune health. For more on Meditation and tips on how to get started check out free meditation basics.
PAMPER YOURSELF: RETIREMENT IS HARD EARNED AND WELL-DESERVED
No matter how hectic life gets, we all deserve a bit of pampering. Deliberately taking time out of every day to focus on yourself and to relax will lift your spirits and recharge your energy to successfully manage all of those post-retirement “To Do’s.”