Why Some Retirees Can’t Get Out of Bed

by Jeanne Savelle

Do you wake up some days and think it’s just blah? Why get out of bed? Why not sleep a little longer?

Waking up later, you see it’s almost noon! Where did the morning go?

You must get up and get moving. Your partner comes home soon, and you haven’t done anything, not even something you love. You might think, “what’s wrong with me?”

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. Nothing has gone wrong.

Hard to believe, no?

Your brain is working fine. It wants to take the easy path, do what feels good, and avoid pain.

Staying in bed is like staying in the cave. It’s easy and safe. If you ventured out, something bad might happen.

You might have to face something you don’t want to. You might recognize that you don’t have the results you want in your life and you’ll feel worse.

Maybe you wanted to paint the kitchen, build a jigsaw puzzle, or listen to music. Perhaps you wanted to learn a new skill, find a volunteer opportunity, or research a new place to travel when it’s safe.

But you don’t get out of bed because you thought retirement would look like this:

  • spending the day indulging in hobbies or projects
  • traveling whenever and wherever you want
  • having coffee every morning with friends
  • living on the beach and hanging out
  • being happy all the time

    And your reality is more like this:

  • It didn’t turn out like you expected
  • You feel lonely
  • You have no routine or no purpose
  • Life is difficult now
  • You’re doing it wrong

    Of course, you’ll pull the covers over your head, go back to sleep, and forget the results you want.

    So, what to do?

    The Secret is: Learn to watch your brain.

    This one skill, and it is a skill, can change your life.

    Step One: Awareness — find out what’s going on in your brain, what you are thinking.

    The next time you don’t want to get out of bed, write down or record the thoughts going through your mind at that moment.

    Don’t edit or change anything. Don’t think about it. Let every thought flow naturally: negative, positive, or neutral.

    If you can’t find a thought, ask yourself what you wish was different, what you struggle with, or what isn’t working in your life.

    Keep writing or recording without any filter until your brain empties out.

    Step Two: Examination — Be curious and look at your thoughts, at what you wrote, and without judgment.

    Thoughts are only sentences and words running through your head. Thought are not you. You are not your thoughts.

    See what stands out. Look for patterns. Try to distinguish between facts and stories. Most thoughts are stories or beliefs, not facts. Be honest and truthful.

    Examining your thoughts increases awareness of your mind. And what goes on in your mind is what goes on in your heart. What you think generates how you feel, then how you act.

    Do this every day and you will begin to change.

    By observing your thoughts, learning how you think, you will become mindful. You will begin to understand how your mind reacts without conscious direction.

    Most of us think unknowingly. Our brains run on automatic.

    The goal is to interrupt the constant stream of automatic thought to uncover what is going on.

    You will become conscious of problems and struggles you probably are not aware of.

    Don’t be afraid to look at fears, doubts, at what’s holding you back. Many will be unpleasant, but you can’t create change without an honest examination.

    Take the challenge to explore your mind. Go deep. Unveil everything.

  • Watch your mind, become aware, without judgment.
  • Differentiate stories, beliefs, and habitual patterns from facts.
  • Determine which thoughts move you away from what you want.

  • Comments for Why Some Retirees Can’t Get Out of Bed

    Click here to add your own comments

    sleeping in.
    by: ronaldj, the thumb

    been retired for 11 years and for some reason cannot sleep past 5:30 or 6 each and every morning. yes, i am ready for bed by 10.

    getting out of bed
    by: Cindi H Ohio

    Well written. You've given me some things to think about.

    Brain Not To Blame
    by: Joe W.

    I'm curious to find out what you personally decided to do with your own retirement life? Did you follow your own personal advice or did you do something else out of the ordinary?

    If someone is sleeping in until Noon each day it's perfectly alright if you go to bed around 3 or 4 each morning. Today we live in a 24 hour society. And a specific time might not be relevant to everybody if their schedules are different.

    I don't think that micromanaging is the answer for most retirees. Retirement means freedom and the opportunity to live the retirement lifestyle that is the best fit for you and your family. Enjoy!

    Joe W.

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