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Seniors & Self-esteem

Seniors & Self-esteem


There are significant life changes which can undermine our self-esteem and our confidence as we get older. Retirement is one such change. Simply getting old is another. Both can precipitate feelings of inadequacy and possibly a loss of self-esteem. Many retirees relied on their work or job situation to bolster self-esteem and to feel valued. Added to the job loss is the ageing factor which can aggravate the entire process, leaving a retiree feeling less attractive, less capable and perhaps lacking confidence in themselves.

There may also be many other negative reactions too, such as feeling we’re not in charge anymore. By learning how we can boost our self-esteem through good habits, new skills and cognitive/physical activities we can perhaps get back on a path to a more rewarding, confident and productive retirement lifestyle. The potential results can mean we live longer, have happier lives and enjoy an enhanced sense of well-being.

In order for this to happen, retirees might want to take stock of their daily lives and see where the problems lie if they’re feeling less confident, lacking self-esteem and are unhappy. On the other side of the coin there are those who feel everything is perfectly fine as it stands, but even so, learning new stuff and adopting better lifestyle choices tends to benefit everyone, no matter what!

So what are some of the choices we can make in order to sweeten the retirement lifestyle pot, especially if we are one of those retirees who’s feeling like they’ve lost their mojo?

Tips to Reboot Your Self-esteem, Reinvigorate Your Confidence and Revitalize Your Image

Look Good – Feel Good

Trust me on this. I know that when I look good I feel good. So will you. Spending the day or all morning in your pjs and a bathrobe is mighty comfortable, but it’s not going to do much to increase your self-esteem. Just because you no longer do the nine to five doesn’t mean you should let yourself go. Get up, do your ablutions, and dress for the day. Even if you aren’t going to be seen out in public, you’ll eventually see yourself in a mirror, either in your bathroom or in your bedroom and ask yourself this: Who would you like to see looking back at you? A frumpy, disheveled person or a pulled together senior citizen who has confidence and élan? You’re your own public now, as is possibly your partner or whomever you live with. And don’t let them fall into bad habits and not practice proper personal hygiene either. You’ll (both) find that your opinion of yourself(selves) will be more positive and supportive.

Learn New Social Skills

No matter our age or social status, we all want to nurture new relationships and friendships, especially in retirement. And this takes work and an understanding of how to kindle them. Higher self-esteem comes from the ability to connect with others and interact. If you’ve had trouble connecting in your pre-retirement years you may want to seek out a coach to help you learn how to step outside your usual boundaries and take some chances. We acquire new social skills by putting ourselves “out there” and taking the initiative. Social media today offers many opportunities to make virtual connections which can often lead to real life ones as well. Start slowly and discover how – perhaps via your hobbies or special interests – or by sharing with others through blogging, using Instagram or Facebook, joining Pinterest or accessing online clubs and venues that play into your strengths and interests. These activities will slowly build up or boost your self-confidence levels.

Nip Negative Stereotyping in the Bud

Society bombards everyone, including seniors and retirees with negative messages, stereotyping and destructive images about the aging process. Stay positive when you are exposed to such situations. Strive to help others who feel the same way you do by letting them know you value their contributions and that you respect them. Challenge those who seek to undermine your or another’s self-esteem. The aging process is not something we should be embarrassed about and certainly not a condition that others should make fun of. Stand up to ageism. Recognize we all have limitations in life – age shouldn’t be one of them!


When you make a choice to help others by volunteering your services, expertise, time or skills, you’ll be instantly rewarded with enhanced self-confidence and esteem. Nothing says ‘Feel Good’ like doing volunteer work. Choose something you’ve never done before and you’ll really broaden your scope. Becoming a volunteer is a win-win not only for the people or organization you’re helping, but it’ll also make you feel good about yourself. Grey power has value despite some people’s opinion! Did you know that volunteers over the age of 65 contribute on average 214 volunteer hours annually?

Maintain As Healthy a Lifestyle As Possible

We all know, deep down, that when we do what we know is good for us, like exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, getting adequate rest and staying socially and mentally active, we automatically feel better about ourselves. Doing these things adds to a higher sense of self-esteem. When I do things that aren’t good for me, I usually feel bad about it afterwards, and feeling bad leads to low self-esteem. Kind of a vicious circle, don’t you agree? For more information and ideas on how you can maintain a healthy lifestyle, refer to our blogs in the Wellness section of Everything Retirement.

Embrace Being Elderly, Retired and Experienced

Let’s face it, we ought to be glad we’ve made it this far when so many don’t. Ageing is a part of life and it doesn’t have to be fraught with low self-esteem – usually precipitated by some crumby ads or stereotypes associated with the ageing process.

Think about a New Career or Occupation

Not all elderly folks are fuddy-duddy’s, in fact these days few are. Sure, we may have ageing issues that come with the territory, but we can still look forward to the future and attack each day with confidence and enthusiasm if we put our mind to it. With a potential 30 years or more of retirement in front of us, there’s still tons of time and opportunity to pursue new skills or deploy our old ones and maybe start a new business or create an innovative personal work opportunity that calls on our years of experience. Having good self-esteem and the confidence to live a full life is a huge part of the equation. No matter what some people might think, being elderly and retired doesn’t mean we’re ready to be put out to pasture yet.


Put Your Ideas and Lifetime Expertise to Work

If you’re looking forward to continuing to work after retirement and you have a potential start-up/business idea you want to explore, then keep an eye out for Everything Retirement’s upcoming E-Book that deals with all you need to know about seniors and entrepreneurs. It’s called The Seniorpreneur Imperative® and is full of information you’ll need to confidently and easily realize your dream.



About the author

Creativity and energy define recent retiree Allyson Dawson. Along with a multitude of interests and hobbies that includes illustration, painting, graphic design, food and wine, tennis and world travel, she’s the principal blog contributor at Everything Retirement. Her more than 400 posts (to date) combine careful research with humour, imagination and insights that define today’s retirement lifestyle.