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Is It Possible to Burnout in Retirement?

Retired Article   (256 Views 0 Replies 857 Words)

Carol Ebert is a MSN, RN and works as a Certified Wellness Practitioner.

4 Followers; 52 Articles; 19,722 Visitors; 130 Posts


I have reached My Third Act (AKA retirement zone) but as an entrepreneur, I don’t see myself ever retiring from being busy working on something... And as I check in with others my age, I find several different paths that people take with their newly found free time.

Is It Possible to Burnout in Retirement?

And as I check in with others my age, I find several different paths that people take with their newly found free time.

  • Take care of grandkids
  • Travel
  • Start hobbies
  • Start a new business
  • Go back to school for a new career
  • Relax and hang out with friends

Your path might be different because there really is not one path to take since the freedom you now have allows you to explore whatever you want. My path continues to be wellness because that is what I have always loved to do in my career and my passion has not stopped. What is different is that there is not a boss telling me what to do so I am free to do what I choose. And that is the reason I am writing about Burnout During Retirement.  Can that be possible?  I thought burnout was for those left behind who are over-worked, stressed-out, worn-down, exhausted and often depressed.

As it turns out, when you aren’t answering to a schedule and the directives of an organization, you are still at risk for burnout.  In my case, I blame it on my entrepreneurial nature which always directs me to seek more to explore, learn and do.  And the result is that I find myself experiencing all the same symptoms of burnout that caused me to leave my last job in the first place.

Here are some classic signs that employers report from their employees:

  • Chronic physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Sense of cynicism – everyone is bugging you, you don’t feel empathy for others
  • Sense of ineffectiveness – you can’t see a path for yourself
  • Lack of downtime – always “on”
  • Lack of enthusiasm – can’t summon energy for what you used to be excited about
  • Physical problems – headaches, stomach ache, bouts of cold and flu – especially if you don’t normally get sick
  • Overreacting to requests

I’m sure you are familiar with these or have even experienced some of these symptoms yourself.  But if you are in your third act and happen to be an entrepreneur like me, you are still subject to this happening to you.  I know that for a fact because I find myself overworking even more than I did as an employee because there is no schedule or corporate directive to tell me to stop and go home.  I’m already home!

So if you are entering the retirement zone, this is a cautionary tale – especially if you are an entrepreneur.  But it is not hopeless. First step is to be aware that you might still burn yourself out if you have that busy nature as I do.  So here are some excellent strategies to prevent this from happening.

Tackle what frustrates you the most

  • What stresses you out and leads to that headache?
  • Pick it apart and see what you can change and what you can’t.
  • Make the changes that you can and accept the changes you can’t.

Surround yourself with inspiration

  • Start and end your day with gratitude.
  • Create a pleasant environment to work and play in.
  • Listen, watch or participate in inspirational offerings

Heed red flags

  • Pay attention to the signs of burnout.
  • Catch frustration early before your body starts to give you a symptom. (mine is a headache)

Network with others your age who are entrepreneurs

  • There is strength and support in numbers
  • Find out what strategies they use to avoid burnout

Do switch off

  • Power down all your electronics before 8 pm to force downtime for yourself
  • Create relaxing evenings before bed

Get enough sleep

  • We still need 7-8 hours/night
  • Your body needs time to repair, restore, relax and during sleep is when that happens

Talk things through

  • Find someone you can talk to – friend, coach, therapist
  • Find entrepreneur groups with your same interests who may be experiencing the same thing

Take a break

  • You may need to force this upon yourself because it is against our nature
  • Keep a schedule and write it on your calendar

Spend time with yourself

  • Schedule time when you can purposefully do nothing
  • Practice by working your way up from 5 minutes to finally about 30+ minutes.
  • This inspired me. 

Hopefully, these strategies will be useful and provide you with a roadmap for creating a Third Act Retirement Plan that gives you the peace and wellness you desire while still honoring your busy nature.

Your thoughts?

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