Psychological support in retirement: how does it work and what are its benefits?

Retirement is, for many, the most awaited moment. Work life ends and the golden years begin when you no longer have to worry about handing in reports, holding meetings, being behind the cash register and other really stressful and exhausting tasks.

However, there are those who see it as a time of great uncertainty, feeling as though they have lost what has defined them and structured their day. Free time becomes tedious and the feeling of worthlessness arises.

To prevent the person from starting a process that will lead to depression and isolation when the time comes to finish work, it is very practical to plan for retirement and to go to professionals for advice on dealing with this great problem. change.

Psychological coaching, both before and during retirement, is a key factor in ensuring the highest level of well-being. facing this new period of life, in addition to avoiding health problems, both physical and mental, and helping to enjoy this great freedom.

In this article, we’ll explain what processes take place during retirement, how to focus on guiding those who are going to retire, and some helpful strategies for making the most of the new situation.

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Retirement, a big change

Each person is a different world, as is the way they cope with vital changes. Retirement can be approached in several ways depending on the person. Factors such as culture, lives and experiences, type of work performed, family support and many other aspects influence attitude and how the new period will be lived.

Retirement is the end of working life, of the profession that has been done for many years. It is not surprising that most identify with the work they have done, showing up with the label of their work. We are psychologists, educators, doctors, aeronautical engineers or any other profession. We showed ourselves to the world with these trades, but when we got into retirement our cover letter seemed to have expired, which no longer defines us.

It can be seen, and it is actually the loss of an important part of one’s own identity. This 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 science focused on the study of the elderly such as psychogerontology, attempts have been made to present aging not as a fatal and horrible thing that once it happens is to stay, but as something that , in a way, can be avoided. obviously there is no human way to prevent the years from running their course, but it can influence how the person is influenced by them, Both emotionally and cognitively.

These sciences do not treat retirement as the mere end of working life, but the beginning of a new period in which the maximum potential of the retiree can be drained, since now he has plenty of time to retire. in itself. He can try to make his dreams come true, do what the job has kept him from doing, and get a much needed rest. It should be mentioned that in the past old age was not seen as it is today. In the past, and because only a few reached old age, getting older was a highly respected thing. The elderly were seen as references and sources of knowledge and experience.

However, thanks to advances in science and especially medicine, in developed countries life expectancy has increased, and many more people are reaching old age. Because of that, current cultural pressure is that old age is synonymous with attrition, disease and limitations, While youth is what is promoted as the desirable and the value to always be maintained.

Why is it necessary to be psychologically oriented in retirement?

As you approach the end of your professional life, it is advisable to find out about retirement management. The goal is to be able to acquire strategies to face this big change and to be able to make the most of it. Good planning, focused on thinking about what is to come, will always be helpful in turning the large amount of free time that will be available into very productive and enjoyable days.

Ideally, companies should have protocols that examine how to help older workers manage their own retirement, addressing both economic issues and leisure and social relationships. There must be an interest in knowing the condition of those who are going to retire, to ensure that they will be able to cope with the new situation with the best possible mental health.

The uncertainty of retirement is a really scary thing, And initiates a series of related concerns: economic stability, health problems, pace of life, loss of friendships, loss of identity …

People who are planning their own retirement have a greater adjustment to the arrival of this period, that is, they feel more satisfied and lead more fulfilled lives than those who have not devoted enough time. time to organize this period.

Given the importance of retirement as a period of life, it is of fundamental importance that a series of strategies be developed to facilitate the person’s adjustment to the new change. The figure of the counseling psychologist can become crucial in such situations.

During orientation it is planned how free time and other aspects of the retreat will be approached. It is essential to look back on the person’s life, to understand and list their personal experiences, knowledge and experiences, as well as the meaning they have given to the role they have played in the organization. This aims to stop seeing retirement as an inevitably negative thing and to see it as the right time to develop one’s personal potential.

During sessions with the guidance psychologist, either individually or in a group, subjects are discussed: fears of retirement, uncertainties and the perception of a possible loss, as well as the recovery of activities and interests. that can fill the free time and the void that lets a job end.

It is very important that during these sessions all the necessary information is provided to the person concerned., Encourage deep reflection on what your new daily life will be like and help break down the beliefs and myths that exist about this vital time.

Analytical strategies for retirement

There are several strategies for preparing for retirement and, also, to make the most of it, turning it into real golden years of the person.

1. Make a list

Put in 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

This analysis assesses the threats, opportunities, weaknesses and strengths of this new period. Plus, it lets you set realistic goals for yourself.

This tool is widely used in the field of organizations, but can be used on a personal level and focus to achieve vital goals.

3. Stay in touch with others

It may sound obvious, but there are many people who, upon retirement or even earlier, go through a brief period of self-isolation. The problem is, something that initially had to be short can be stretched out and end up in a situation of isolation.

Many adults live alone and have not been out of their homes for a long time, which seriously affects their mental health. That is why, when retirement arrives, friendships should be cultivated.

This, in addition to avoiding disconnecting from the outside world, will contribute to a person’s self-esteem, because although they are no longer working, there will be people who will love and care about them.

A healthy network of friends has been associated with fewer physical and psychological health problems.

4. Look for new knowledge

Computer workshops for seniors, language courses, neighborhood choirs … many activities for seniors have become popular in recent years.

In these courses you not only learn dynamically and one is to recycle, they also allow you to open your mind to meet new people.

Bibliographical references:

  • Albarracín D. and Goldstein E. (1994). Social support networks and human aging “. In J. Buendía. Aging and health psychology. Madrid. 21st 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. 21st century
  • García, AJ & Garcés dels Fayos-Ruiz, EJ (2000) Preparation for retirement: a review of the psychological and social factors that affect a better emotional adjustment at the end of work exercise. Annals of Psychology, 16 (1), 87-99

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