What Retirement Can Look like Emotionally and Psychologically

By | Biltmore, Blog, Coping, Depression, Goals, Happiness, Retirement | No Comments

When most of us think about retirement, we think about how much money we have saved and invested over the years. Will we have enough income to live comfortably when we retire? We spend most of our lives saving as much extra money as we can, and being reminded by our banks and retirement agencies that we need to stay on track.

One thing that we do not seem to prepare for when retirement approaches, are the emotional and psychological aspects of retiring. You have spent your entire life working and having a career, to suddenly be out of that space can sometimes be a shock to your system and identity.

You were once busy all day long, and now you find yourself with endless amounts of time on your hands. People start to realize their lifetime goal of a happy retirement, has now become a reality filled with disappointment, loneliness, and often sadness.

This doesn’t happen to everyone of course, but for those who do experience this can feel the need to keep it quiet. They feel like they have done something wrong to feel disappointment instead of  happiness in retirement. Everyone keeps telling them how wonderful it must be, when they are thinking how terrible it has been.

So how do you prepare for retirement emotionally and psychologically? According to the American Psychological Association and the article by By Jamie Chamberlin, there are a few things you can do to ease into this new lifestyle.

Finding part time work, or self employment is always a great idea. Having some sort of schedule, or side work can make someone feel like they are still participating in the work force but at a slower pace.

Taking up a hobby in retirement can be particularly rewarding, and can fill some time in your schedule. Have you always wanted to take up painting? Yoga? Cooking? Take a few classes, and see where it takes you!

Have you had a trip in mind that you always wanted to take but never had the chance? Start traveling.

The important thing is that as you prepare for retirement or are settling into retirement, you are aware that emotionally it might take some time to get used to. This is normal. It is okay to feel like you miss your “old life”. It is okay to feel angry, disappointed, and that you have nothing left. Retirement is emotionally like what your life was like before retirement, it is what you make of it. It is your mindset and your outlook on it. And that can always be changed!

Alarm clock on table with the words 'Wake Up' on the alarm time slot

How to start your Monday off Mindfully?

By | Biltmore, Blog, Goals, Happiness, Health, Meditation, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, Stress | No Comments

Some mornings can be tough, but Monday mornings seem to be particularly tough for some. When you’re winding down from a socially filled or relaxing weekend, it can be hard to switch your mind to business mode for the Monday morning job. Is there anything we can do to make the sting of the alarm on Monday’s less painful?

Setting yourself up for a positive and productive day starts as soon as your alarm goes off. Even on that dreaded Monday you can start making small changes to act more mindfully. Studies show that setting your alarm to a less “alarming” sound can benefit in a multitude of ways. First, being ‘alarmed’ abruptly out of a deep sleep can be quite fear and stress inducing. Second, where did it say in the rule book that your alarm must be extremely loud and annoying? Try setting your alarm to a more calming sound, still benefiting from the help in waking you up, but less jolting as you begin your day.

It seems like a lot of people today find it hard to keep hydrated through out the day. If you start your day with coffee, tea or juice, it can be even harder to get back on track. Start with a full glass of water as soon as you wake up. It doesn’t mean you can’t have coffee or tea later, but starting with a full glass of water can help keep you hydrated and help keep you motivated to drink water through out your busy day.

Do you find inspirational books, quotes, or podcasts helpful? A lot of people do. And starting your day with a little motivation has a great positive impact. It might be reading an inspirational book, or having a motivational calendar in your view. There are a plethora of positive, inspiring, and motivational podcasts these days, perhaps you listen to one as you’re getting ready for work.

You might think you don’t have time to meditate in the mornings. But what about a little body scan, a little self check in? This can be done in 5 minutes, as you’re waiting for your shower to heat up. Take a few deep inhales and exhales, try some light stretching and put the focus on relaxing and setting your intentions for the day.

Adding a nutritious breakfast to your morning can help set yourself up for success as well. Try incorporating some good fiber, and complex carbohydrates to help you feel full through out your morning. Things like plain oatmeal with berries and nuts, or a refreshing smoothie with fruits and vegetables are easy and healthy.

What do you do to start your week off right?

Who am I written on a small chalkboard on a table.

How well do you know yourself?

By | Biltmore, Blog, Goals, Happiness, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness | No Comments

How well do you know yourself? When asked what kind of person a you are, are you able to truly express who you really are?

Knowing yourself can be beneficial in so many different ways. When you understand the way you react in certain moments, the way you talk to yourself in your head, or a plethora of other traits that make you you, it can help you become a much happier person. When you know who you are, you are more likely to specifically seek and speak about what you want. You are more decisive with your decisions, and are able to set boundaries for people or things that might not be serving your happiness or health.

Your past makes up a big portion of what makes you you. But it doesn’t define who you are today. You might have come to certain conclusions because of your parents, or have a deeper appreciation for something that you didn’t have as a child.

Your future can shape what motivates you in life. What are your goals personally or professionally? How do you want to be treated, or how do you want to treat others? Knowing yourself can make those relationships around you deeper and more genuine. It can also show you which relationships can be toxic and should probably end.

Take a look at this article over at Psychology Today by Bill George titled, Know Thyself: How to Develop Self-Awareness . It’s a great outline for becoming more in tune with yourself!

Premarital Counseling

What should you discuss before you get married?

By | Biltmore, Blog, Coping, Counseling, Family, Goals, Happiness, Relationships | No Comments

Marriage is a big step in a couple’s lives. The best way to set yourselves up for a successful partnership, is to tackle the difficult subjects before getting married. This can be uncomfortable. But it truly is the best way to see the compatibility and goals of both as individuals and as a couple.

Statistically speaking there are a few topics that are generally important for two people to discuss during their pre-marital phase.

  1. Finances
  2. Children/Family
  3. How to solve conflict
  4. Expectations
  5. Long Term Goals


Disagreements around finances is one of the leading causes of divorce. If you’ve ever spoken to your partner about money, you can probably understand why. Each person has grown up with different values, habits, and goals attached to their finances.

It’s important to come together, and lay everything on the table. Do either of you have debt currently or in the past? What is the plan to pay off that debt? What are your individual spending habits? How much will you save? Do you have the same long term goal for retirement? Will you have joint accounts or separate accounts? Who will be the primary person responsible for the finances?


Do you want children? Does your partner want children? If yes, how many? When? Be honest about what you see your future looking like, and what you want or don’t want. Fundamentally people usually know their stance on children, and often do not change their mind. If one partner has hopes that the other will change their mind in the future, it can set you both up for a lot of heartbreak and hurt.

Having in-laws can be a blessing or an added stress to a relationship. How close are you with your family? Do you expect your family to be a big part of your lives as a couple? How will you spend the holidays? How important is it that your spouse and your family get along?

How to solve conflict

Every couple fights. But learning how to solve your disagreements and communicate effectively is key. Ask each other: How do we handle conflict? Do we both want to learn how to solve the conflict or do we choose to ignore it? Are we willing to listen to the others point of view? Are we hoping our partner will change? Is it easy for us to forgive our partner when they have hurt us?


Each partner probably has individual expectations for themselves. Now it’s time to discuss the expectations of the other, and the expectations as a couple. Learning how to solve small things like: who does the laundry? Who does the grocery shopping and cooks? How clean do we expect each other to be?

And then there can also be bigger expectations: do we expect our partner to work less and spend more time at home? Do we expect a certain salary of each other? How do we add value and fulfillment to each others lives?

Long Term Goals

Having the same long term goals can be a really important factor for a couple. Where do we see ourselves in 10 years? Do we have a savings goal? Do we want to buy a house? Do we want to make time for travel? What age do we hope to retire?

If the communication lines are healthy and effective in your relationship early on, it can be really helpful when difficult times arise throughout your marriage. Every couple will go through difficult times, it is how you both recover from those difficult times that sets the tone for a great life together.

Small red Valentine's Day hearts, hanging on a string, with a teal background

Set Your Valentine’s Day Up for Success

By | Biltmore, Blog, Goals, Happiness, Relationships | No Comments

There is so much pressure placed on Valentine’s Day wouldn’t you agree? We’ve barely stopped counting down from New Years before we’re bombarded with Valentines Day candies, chocolates, cards, and flowers.

There are some people who love this day, and others who loathe it. The amount of pressure and anxiety it can cause, can be overwhelming for those who are coupled up. It can also be a really nice way to reconnect with your loved one, and finally get that date night that you’ve been trying to schedule. Whatever your feelings are towards Valentine’s Day, take a step back this year with a different approach.

Lose Your Expectations

What makes this day fall apart are the expectations we can put on our partner and ourselves for the day to be perfect. Talk early on in your relationships about what you both expect from this holiday. My husband and I agreed early on to not worry about gifts, cards, or fancy dinner reservations. Instead, we agreed on bringing home a small treat to each other with a $10 limit. It can be fun bringing home some sweets that you wouldn’t normally eat, and with our monetary limit of $10, it eliminates the need or expectations of going above and beyond.

Speak with Positivity

Although this should really be an everyday goal, try to focus on building each other up today. Tell your partner how nice they look, or tell them how much you appreciate them putting the dishes away after dinner. I am a firm believer of speaking to your partner with positive affirmations every day. We see so many couples who cut each other down, and focus on what their partner is doing wrong, that they can’t seem to see how detrimental this can be to a relationship over the long term. Stay away from the blame and the resentment today.

Plan Something Fun

If you’re dead set on celebrating this day with an activity, try planning something fun and laid back. Take a bike ride down to the local ice cream shop. Head to that movie you’ve been dying to see. Stay in and make a homemade pizza together. Take the pressure out of planning the most romantic night of your lives, and instead replace with a normal, laid back, and fun activity. Make this day about laughter and enjoying the time together, and forget the pressure placed on you from the outside world. 


Happy Valentine’s Day from everyone here at Biltmore Psychology and Counseling!

Close up of the word RESET written with scrabble tiles.

Rough Day? Reset with These 6 Tips

By | Anxiety, Biltmore, Blog, Coping, Goals, Stress | No Comments

Do you ever lie awake at night, going over in your head all of the things you are stressed about? Do you ever worry about what is on the schedule for the next day, or the next week? Some people tend to worry more at night, and others spend their mornings stressing about what’s to come. When anxiety, stress, and worry hit there are many different things that can help you get back on track. Some people do well with lists, making a list of their “To Do’s” allow them to visualize what they need to get done, putting the highest priorities at the top, and then crossing them out gives the sense of accomplishment to better tackle the next item.

There are those that are able to take a quick break, walk around the office, take a ‘breather’ and that is all they need to be able to bring their focus back to what is needed. Does being able to visualize yourself completing the task work best? Maybe counting to 10 in your head helps a quick reset when stress arises.

Melanie Greenberg at Psychology Today, gives us a few tips on how to get back on track when you feel your stress has derailed the success of your day.

  1. Slow things down
  2. Exercise
  3. Get the green
  4. Smile
  5. Stand upright
  6. Try to see your stress as a challenge