Year after year, you had a routine. You went to work, logged in your hours, came home and did it all over again the next day. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Now, you’re retired. Gone are the days of the morning alarm, timecard, project deadlines, social lunches or office parties (annoying as they could be, you still counted on them).
So now what? Most working folks would marvel at your newfound freedom (yearning to have just one afternoon off), yet you feel completely out of sorts. You may even feel a little down. You wanted out of the rat race, yet your home is uncomfortably quiet. You are finally in charge of your day, yet you don’t know where to start. Are you obligated to do anything now? Is a 4-hour Netflix binge okay? Is showering even necessary today?
Pondering the aforementioned might humor you (and kill a few minutes of the day), but the truth is that idle time after retirement could have serious consequences. According to an article by Harvard Medical Center, having too little to do after retiring can lead to the same symptoms as having too much to do: anxiety, depression, appetite loss, memory issues and insomnia.
How do you strike a balance? Consider striking a pose … on the dancefloor. Aside from providing exercise, dancing improves socialization and decreases your risk of dementia. It positively affects your mind and body. Studies show that we are not only happier when we dance, but even when we watch others dance. Test yourself! We at Arthur Murray challenge you to hold a poker face as you watch these retirees groove to “Can’t Stop The Feeling.”
Dennis and Donna Opoka had the itch to dance after retiring. “It was something we always wanted to do, but didn’t know if it was possible,” said Donna, 56. Her husband, Dennis, 70, is completely blind. The couple has been married for 25 years and live near Arthur Murray Royal Oak (AMRO). Their son encouraged them to make the call to the studio. Once AMRO reassured Donna that Dennis could partake in dancing, the couple took their first lesson.
“I had the jitters,” recalled Dennis. The professional team at AMRO guided him through each step, making sure an instructor was always by his side during group lessons. With this personalized attention, Dennis gained confidence and the couple has enjoyed dancing ever since. They’ve completed 10 private lessons and many group lessons and parties since this past September.
Dennis said his experience at AMRO has been “really cool” and that he is grateful to the studio for accommodating his needs. “It takes a special person with patience to teach a blind person what to do because it is much easier to just do it for them,” he said.
“Everyone at the studio is so nice and personable and happy,” Donna said. “It’s a close-knit group.”
The road to retirement seven years ago was a smooth one for Donna, who had served as a librarian for 25 years. She was ready to focus on family obligations and personal “to-do” items. Dennis ended his 33-year career with the U.S. Department of Labor 11 years ago and needed a bit more time adjusting to retirement. Aside from dancing, they each enjoy various activities such as volunteering, cooking, woodworking and hunting.
“This is the best time of my life,” Donna said. For anyone approaching retirement, she suggests keeping busy, enjoying life and making fun a priority. “Do what you want, whether it’s exercising, a recreational activity, learning a new language or going back to school,” she said. “This is a great time to do something new; something you didn’t have time to do before.”
Dennis adds that retirees shouldn’t just stay at home. “Figure out what you like and go for it,” he said. “If you don’t like something, move on to something else. You can do anything you want to do.”
Even if you stowed away your salsa shoes in a “been there, done that” box years ago or have shied away from dance your entire life, the professionals at Arthur Murray can help ease you into movement. Our three-fold dance instruction program is tried and true, allowing you to build structure into your lifestyle.
The more times you step into the studio, the better you’ll get. Call us at (248) 548-4770 or sign up for a free lesson here. Pretty soon, you just might find yourself having a routine again!