Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Retirement: What do I want to be when I grow up?

Retirement may look like the Promised Land until you get there. After a few weeks of catching up on sleep and chores, the freedom may morph into too much time alone with nothing to do. You miss the daily connections you had at work. You miss your familiar routines. You may even miss the work. You picture the days and weeks ahead with little or nothing planned and wonder “What do I want to be in retirement?”

Retirement has no structure. We’re free to choose how we use our time. At first there’s delight in having the time for projects long postponed or neglected and time to begin new ventures or hobbies. However, with no pressure or structure from outside the impetus to be disciplined or to go in new directions may evaporate. To have the kind of retirement you want will take courage and discipline.

Here are my suggestions for how to plan and enjoy retirement:

1. Think of retirement as a wonderful new beginning. It’s a time to be more relaxed and a time to pursue other interests.

2. Think of the first year as a time of transition. Be upbeat when possible but give yourself grace when you are at loose ends. Remind your self you’re adjusting to a whole new way of life.

3. Discipline your life. Make a flexible schedule of chores so you will accomplish the things you’ve always wanted to do. Let’s face it. Most of us are lazy and don’t get around to doing the things we should do. List the chores to be done. For example, you will do laundry on Monday, pay bills on Tuesday, shop on Thursday, and clean your home on Friday. Then stick with the schedule.

4. Schedule daily exercise. Take walks or join the Y for exercise classes. This is one of the best preventive medicines for aging there is. And you now have the time to really get in shape.

5. Revitalize your life! Pursue a new interest or learn more about an old one. Plan it, schedule it and follow your plan.

6. Give to others. We forget our own problems when we help those in greater need. Look for neighbors in need or offer to help your favorite charity.

7. Pay attention to your spiritual health and growth. Find a church that inspires and challenges you and be active there.

Grey hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life. Proverbs 16: 31

Blessings, Dottie

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Insomnia is a common problem and a distressing one. A lack of sleep can have a negative effect on how we feel, and how we function the next day. If this becomes a chronic problem it is exhausting. Sleep is necessary to rest the body and the mind. Most adults need between seven and eight hours per night. However, many get along on six hours or less and many also seem to require nine or ten hours sleep. Sleep needs change with age. An infant may sleep up to 18 hours a day. Children often require 12 hours each night. Older people find they need less sleep than they once did. The amount of sleep doesn't matter if you feel rested and well.

There are several things you can do to regulate your sleep patterns.

1. Plan your bedtime as carefully as you would a gourmet meal. Go to bed at the same time every evening to establish a pattern. Visualize, ahead of time, the comfort of being in bed sleeping. Spend the last hour before bedtime relaxing and unwinding. If you watch TV make sure you watch a calming or funny program rather than an exciting or scary show.

2. When you get in bed enjoy the comfort of lying down. Stretch your arms and legs and then let go to relax your body more. Do this several times. Take deep breaths and enjoy further relaxation of your body.

3. Think of a Bible verse or a prayer that is comforting to you and repeat it over and over in your mind. For example, say “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.” Repeat this over and over and picture a pastoral scene, resting in God. You can vary the scripture or think of the attributes of God alphabetically or the names of God. Keep going until you fall asleep.

“Stand at the crossroads and look: ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16

Blessings, Dottie