This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those facing retirement find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after they retire. Her public lecture on this subject is titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement.” Her memoir, Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class, is available by clicking on this link: Amazon.com. Click here for her website: AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
An article in the newspaper a few months ago mentioned that companies like Walmart track purchasing patterns. One thing they found was that beer and diapers are often purchased together. Yes, it brings a laugh. However, in analyzing it a bit further, it’s not so funny.
Having a baby is a significant stressor. Resorting to alcohol, drugs, over-eating, and worse on a regular and maybe excessive basis to handle that stress can be counterproductive and dangerous. Substance abuse to cope with stress doesn’t just happen to new parents, it occurs across the spectrum of age, sex, race, and every other classification. We are bombarded with stress all the time. Sometimes it’s externally driven and sometimes internally. However, it creates anxiety, nervousness, and a search for a solution, too often in the form of ever-encroaching, addictive behaviors.
We can’t eliminate all stress from our lives. But, we can try to lower it. Look carefully at what causes you stress. Are you babysitting too often and too long for grandchildren who wear you out? Do you have too many activities and obligations scheduled and just yearn for some down time? Do you (fill in the blank)? Learn to assess your personality and abilities. Admit if you can no longer keep up the pace you did when you were younger. Maybe things that didn’t used to bother you do now.
Practice prioritizing. Learn to tell others “no.” Learn to tell yourself the same. When life becomes overwhelming and you find yourself sinking into substance abuse or other self-destructive behaviors just to function, find another, less harmful drug of choice—an alternative, more beneficial means of managing it.
Exercise is one example. Join a gym, attend it, and work out on a regular basis. Take long, brisk walks. Climb stairs whenever possible. Writing is another way to deal with stress. We used to write in our diaries; today it’s called journaling. It’s therapeutic and calming. Use the old-fashioned, paper and pen method or do it on your computer.
Think of other non-self-destructive means of attacking the stressors that life throws at you. Be your own advocate. Handle life rather than the other way around.
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