America’s Other West Coast

Who knew America has two West Coasts? Well now we do, after discovering Florida’s hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline facing west onto the Gulf of Mexico.

Sometimes called The Sunset Coast, most of it is much less crowded than the… CONTINUE READING >>

Florida's West Coast

Who knew America has two West Coasts?

Well now we do, after discovering Florida’s hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline facing west onto the Gulf of Mexico.

Sometimes called The Sunset Coast, most of it is much less crowded than the East Coast, and retains a good bit of old Florida charm.

We made our way out of the Everglades by driving down to the southern edge of this eastern version of the West Coast, the ritzy enclave of Marco Island, and then followed the shoreline north to Naples.

Spanish Moss and Palms

While this Floridian version of Napoli is plenty picturesque, at no time did we mistake ourselves for being in Italy. This Naples is about a million times more laid back.

Continuing up the coast took us through places with great names like Pelican Bay, Barefoot Beach and Bonita Springs, places where Spanish moss and palm trees coexist.

We were psyched up at the prospect of taking to kayaks for exploring, hoping to spot some fish and wildlife, especially manatees and gators.

The possibility of kayaking with manatees landed us in Fort Myers. This was certainly something we were jazzed up about, and the next day we headed a few miles east of town to the aptly named Manatee Park.

Power plant canal where manatees come to warm themselves

The park lies on a power plant canal, just the kind of place manatees love to come to warm up in the cooler months, but unfortunately no sea cows were lounging on the summer-like day that we arrived.

It was getting a little too late in the year, and water temperatures had warmed to the point where the manatees were heading out to sea.

Kayaking on Florida's West Coast

But we were not giving up so easily. The park ranger said that there might be a chance a few of the manatees would still be hanging out in the Orange River, which connects to the canal.

So we headed over to Calusa Blueway Outfitters, they rent kayaks and canoes right at the park, and picked out a two-man kayak.

Launch Beach near Orange River

We thought this would be the perfect way to rustle up some sea cattle. Turned out that the boat we picked wasn’t so perfect, however.

Before we got a hundred yards offshore we were sinking… fast! Good thing we hadn’t made it out of the shallow water.

Kayaking the Orange River

So we abadoned ship, jumped in the muddy water, and waded back to dry land, dragging our waterlogged kayak behind us.

Our next vessel proved to be seaworthy, and we paddled out through jungle-y terrain to the Orange River to begin our scouting for manatees.

Kyaking the Orange River

We didn’t see hide nor hair of one. Possibly because they had all left, but also, the low-to- the-surface vantage point of the kayak didn’t seem to be optimal for for sea cow spotting.

It turned out to be great for watching water fowl though, and even better for an up close encounter with an alligator on his home turf.

Alligator sunning itself

When gators are warming themselves in the sun they don’t move much, so we silently glided right up on one, just trying to see how close we could get.

We were feeling quite bold, right up till he slid into the water and started swimming our way, that is.

Then we basically freaked out and attempted to set a new kayak speed record.

Ready for more of the natural wonders that Florida offers, we drove up through Port Charlotte and Venice (still didn’t feel like we were in the old country), to Sarasota where we headed inland a few miles to Myakka River State Park.

While the park has two lakes and a river, we chose to do our exploring as land lubbers.The birdwalk juts out into Upper Myakka Lake, Florida

We weren’t up for invading any more alligator’s personal space, so we broke out our trusty bicycles and set out upon the park’s many miles of trails. Our two main destinations were the birdwalk that juts out into Upper Myakka Lake, and the Canopy Walkway through the treetops.

Myakka River State Park's Canopy Walk

We hit the birdwalk first, but with the dry weather the water level of the lake was so low that instead of being a boardwalk out into the lake’s shallows, where the waterfowl frolic, it was just a walkway over a bunch of mud.

We did spot a few birds from afar, but mostly we got a really beautiful bike ride.

On the other hand, the Canopy Walkway beat any and all of our expectations. Built in 2000, this is the first of its kind in North America, and provides easy access to the oak/palm hammock canopy.

Canopy Walkway in Florida

We began by climbing stairs twenty-five feet up to the beginning of the walkway. From there a hanging trail leads one hundred feet across, directly through the canopy growth.

At the end of the walkway an observation tower rises another seventy-five feet up for an incredible view. The land is very flat so we could see for miles and miles across the top of the forest.

The Canopy Walkway near Sarasota Florida

This jungle-like area is just one of the many varied landscapes that Florida has to offer, and perhaps one of its least known. But our next destination could never claim that distinction.

It was time to head even further south to cross a time zone into island-time.

See you in The Keys!

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

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There’s No Denying Denali is Da Bomb! Alaska’s Beauty at its Best

Scenery that’s just too spectacular to be real!

There’s no place like it on earth. We skirted precariously along cliffs, hiked among magnificent mountains, and learned how to react when we came upon a grizzly in the wild (this goes against every human fight-or-flight instinct!). Oh, and there’s that bit about the town that has a cat for a mayor… CONTINUE READING

With travel restrictions lifting, we are hoping to make another trip up to Alaska this summer.  Here is a look back at some highlights from previous journeys north.

The GypsyNesters in Denali National Park in Alaska

In what may be becoming an regular trek up to Alaska to see The Boy again this summer (we haven’t summoned the fortitude to venture up in the winter yet), we decided to take in some of the state’s boundless beauty with a visit to North America’s highest peak, Denali, and the National Park that surrounds it.

View from Flat Top Mountain in Anchorage, Alaska
Right before things went terribly awry on Flat Top Mountain, so climbing Denali is probably NOT the best idea!

Seeing it from afar last year when we climbed Flat Top Mountain only whet our appetites, we felt that if we were to do the massive mountain justice we should get an up close and personal introduction.

From Anchorage, our homebase, we headed toward Wasilla (a different path from our previous travels down the fabulous Seward Highway and our visit to the extremely remote Native Villages in the tundra).

Setting out in the evening, after The Boy and his lovely girlfriend finished work, we stop for an overnight in the town of Talkeetna. This quirky-quaint little outpost is used as a base camp for climbers, since it is the nearest civilization to the southern route up Denali’s summit.

Talkeetna, Alaska

Several air taxi services shuttle mountaineers to base camps, and take sightseers on flybys or glacier landings, in fact the tiny town has two airports.

Since we’d learned our limitations whilst climbing Flat Top, we weren’t interested in getting into further trouble climbing the ginormous peak. Enjoying the the frontier atmosphere of the village was more our speed.

A local watering hole in Talkeetna, Alaska

Talkeetna’s downtown area is so darn quaint, and authentic, that it is classified as a National Historic Site.

Though it was getting a little late, we wandered Main Street and stopped into a couple of the local watering holes.

Summer solstice in full swing—and being so close to the Arctic Circle—meant that it was not going to get dark that night.

Just to be certain, we waited for twelve o’clock and a dose of midnight sun. If there ever was a time that we wished for blackout curtains, this was it.

Nagley's General Store, home of the cat mayor, Stubbs, in Talkeetna, Alaska

The next morning, which looked pretty much the same as the night that preceded it, we set out for Nagley’s General Store to pay a call on Mayor Stubbs.

The Honorable Mayor Stubbs - he's a cat - of Talkeetna, Alaska
The Honorable Mayor Stubbs has his own swag.

We were hoping to be able to give him a little scratch behind the ears, oh, wait, perhaps we should explain that Stubbs is a cat.

Full discloser: he is also only the honorary mayor.

The town has no real mayor, so there is no truth to the legend that Stubbs won a write-in campaign, but he has been holding forth with huge approval ratings since 1997.

That’s almost twenty years!

He started out as barely more than a kitten but, obviously, he’s getting a little long in the tooth, and wasn’t feeling up to greeting his citizens (or his legions of fans) that day.

Luckily, Nagley’s is a landmark in its own right; over one hundred years ago this was one of the original buildings in Talkeetna and more than a store, it served as the Post Office and District Territorial Headquarters too.

Talkeetna Alaska's famous spinach bread!

Feeling sad that we missed the mayor, we soothed ourselves with some of Talkeetna’s famous spinach bread (cheesy, garlicky, gooey goodness) and took a walk down to the Susitna River to hopefully get a peek at the mighty mountain that was shrouded in clouds the day before.

Unfortunately, Denali is so large that it creates its own weather, so it is hidden from view at least two thirds of the time.

This morning fell into that majority.

Mountain view from Talkeetna, Alaska

We did end up with a fantastic view of Mount Foraker, the third highest peak in North America, but looking out across the rushing water only the bottom half of big Denali was visible to the right of Foraker.

Loading up the car and hoping for a break in the clouds, we drove north to Denali National Park.

The drive to Denali National Park, Alaska

Along the way we played peek-a-boo, catching passing glimpses, but never a clear view of the entire mountain.

The road to Denali National Park, Alaska - stunning!
We were more than happy to take in the “regular-sized” humongous mountains on the endless range. Each one more stunning than the next.

As we traveled on, it was surprising to find that we had passed the summit completely and ended up on Denali’s north side where the entrance awaited us.

We settled into our cabin in Denali Village and drifted off to sleep with dreams of a clear day ahead.

Instructions on how to survive a grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

Up for a bright-and-early morning, our first stop was a quick trip to the visitor center.

It was there that we learned how to handle grizzlies.

Memorizing what goes against everything our fight-or-flight human tendencies warned us, we vowed to give it a shot were we so (un)lucky to find ourselves near a grizzly bear.
The bus through Denali National Park

There is only one road through the park, so for safety and traffic control it is restricted to park vehicles only.

That means the only way to get into the interior of the park is to take a bus.

Our driver, a vivacious woman who couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds dripping wet, drove on paths so narrow that much of the time we could only see a sheer drop while we peered aghast from our windows.

The crazy road through Denali National Park, Alaska

We went deep into countryside that normally could never be seen without days of hiking under heavy backpacks.

The crazy cliff-clinging road through Denali National Park, Alaska

Snow on the mountains in Denali National Park, Alaska

As we went along our driver regaled the history of the park, which in turn explained why we were not going to see the summit, even if the clouds broke.

The concept of the park came from conservationist Charles Alexander Sheldon, who pushed for National Park protection of the region from 1906, until 1917 when Woodrow Wilson signed the bill creating Mount McKinley National Park.

Signs in Denali National Park in Alaska are fitted with spikes so the bears refrain from scratching themselves and knocking them over
Signs are fitted with spikes to deter bears from scratching their backs on them and knocking them over.

Sheldon’s idea was never focused on the big mountain, which he called Denali even back then, but on preserving the incredible wildlife and beauty of the entire area.

In fact, the summit of the peak wasn’t even within the original park boundaries.

The rest of the mountain wasn’t officially protected until President Jimmy Carter named it Denali National Monument in 1978.

Two years later the Monument was added into the Park, and the Alaska State Board of Geographic Names officially changed the name of the mountain to Denali.

The sheer cliffs off the road through Denali National Park in Alaska are crazy!

The name had been a source of controversy from the beginning, and even with that change the federal government continued to consider the official name Mount McKinley.

The situation of different state and federal names lasted until 2015, when President Barack Obama directed Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to rename the mountain Denali, which means “the high one” in the native Koyukon language.

Denali National Park, Alaska

Now that we had the notion of seeing that one particular mountain out of our heads, we were freed up to stop looking, and enjoy all of the other amazing mountains that were surrounding us.

We could also beginning to focus on spotting some of the vast array of wildlife that calls the park home.

Dall sheep frolick in Denali National Park, Alaska

Our first encounter didn’t take much effort to spot, as a herd of Dall sheep ran right across the road.

Coming to quick, sharp stop, freaking out our driver because in her twenty years here she had never seen them so up close.

They are normally quite shy and stay high up on the hillsides.

Not much farther along we got a good sense of what she meant, and just how good at spotting animals she was, when she pointed out several caribou up in a snowfield high on a ridge.

Without her guidance we never would have seen them, or known that they were rolling in the snow to get rid of pesky insects.

Polychrome Pass in Denali National Park in Alaska - where the mountains explode with color!

As we climbed up the aptly named Polychrome Pass, the colors of the rocks exploded into a rainbow of earth toned hues.

This is due to the localized volcanic events, in contrast to the vast majority of the mountains which rise from tectonic activity as the Pacific Plate slowly crashes into the North American plate.

It’s actually a part of the same fault system that created the San Andreas Fault thousands of miles to the south.

While riding through this spectacular scenery was incredible, we really wanted to get out in it, so we asked to get off at the next stop.

The buses make numerous stops along the road just for this purpose, as hikers and campers make their way in and out of the wilderness.

Black bear warning sign in Denali National Park, Alaska
According to our driver and the warning at the vistor center, black bears behave quite differently—we frantically double checked that we knew the difference.

We weren’t going to get too crazy, just wanted to take in the wide open expanse of the Toklat River Valley and maybe explore over a ridge or two. So we grabbed our hiking gear, and after strongly warning us to beware of bears, the driver pulled away in a cloud of dust.

Hiking through Denali National Park in Alaska

For the next couple of hours we bashed through the brush and squished our way through the spongy tundra.

Good thing we didn’t plan on going very far because it is pretty tough terrain.

Bet we didn’t cover more than a couple of miles the whole time.

Hiking through Denali National Park in Alaska

Not that we could notice from the amount of daylight, but it was starting to get a little late so we hightailed it back to the road to flag down one of the last few buses headed out of the park.

We certainly didn’t have any desire to make a survivalist camp for the night… even if it wouldn’t get dark.

A grizzly bear in Denali National Park, Alaska

A grizzly bear eating in Denali National Park, Alaska

Just after getting back on the bus our driver slowed to a stop to give us a good long look at a grizzly feeding just a few feet from the road.

Two things came to mind.

First, how lucky were we to get this amazing chance to see this deadly combination of teeth and claws in his native habitat?

Second, O. M. Geeeee—how close was this guy when we were out rambling around?

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

See all of our adventures in Alaska!

YOUR TURN: Are you as happy as we are that we didn’t get eaten by a bear? Isn’t Denali stunning?

This post may contain sponsored links.

THE Talk

“I’m eighteen now, I can do what I want.”

The dreaded time when the spawn are technically adults but still in high school. At that age, it would seem that “adult” means the freedom to head out and start being stupid at top speed.

The standard “Not in my house” or “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll abide by my rules” replies didn’t seem to sink in with our young ‘uns. In fact, I could almost see the heels digging in to the floor.

One day while driving our oldest, The Piglet, to school, I got fed up and burst out with what became known in our family as “THE Talk.” No, not THAT “the talk”, this one:… CONTINUE READING >>

David Writes!

We have always tried to treat our kids like people. Individuals. They were allowed to have their own ideas and thoughts.

I think this might be due to our Boomer Generation backlash from the “children should be seen and not heard” theory of raising offspring.

For instance, I would watch my mom bristle when we asked our kids what they wanted for dinner.

I’m not talking short order cook here, just a couple of choices that we put to a casual vote. Chicken or spaghetti guys? Winner take all.

Back when I was a kid, we all sat down together and got what was served and liked it. Period. We were card carrying members of The Clean Plate Club. There were starving children in China, after all.

One of my first big revelations as a parent came after a two hour battle with our first born, The Piglet.

“Try a carrot, honey.”

“No, I don’t like them.”

“How do you know? You’ve never tried them.”

“No, I don’t like them.”

After a stubborn eternity in her high chair, we took the obstinate routine on the road. I chased her diapered little butt all over the house. The rhubarb reached its ultimate conclusion with me trying to push a cooked carrot cube past her clinched teeth. Maybe the “eat what you’re served” mentality can go too far.

Our Spawn did not receive equal standing when it came to the important decisions. Some things were not open to debate. There were rules that were unbending and our word was final.

We did, however, encourage them to voice their opinions. An effort was made to see things from their point of view. This allowed us to have actual discussions with our kids — not just telling them what to do. These conversations are some of my best memories as a parent.

Here at GypsyNester.com we have talked about having an adult-to-adult relationship with grown offspring quite a bit. The ability to have real conversations with them is an enormous part of that. But getting there can have its trials and tribulations.

Just when we thought that The Great Puberty War was the worst of it, we were bombarded with something new.

“I’m eighteen now, I can do what I want.”

The dreaded time when the spawn are technically adults but still in high school. At that age, it would seem that “adult” means the freedom to head out and start being stupid at top speed.

The standard “Not in my house” or “As long as you live under my roof, you’ll abide by my rules” replies didn’t seem to sink in with our young ‘uns. In fact, I could almost see the heels digging in to the floor.

One day while driving The Piglet to school, I got fed up and burst out with what became known in our family as “THE Talk.” No, not THAT “the talk”, this one:

“Yup, you’re right, you are an adult, which means we are through with our job of raising you. Anything we do from here on out is a favor to you — out of the goodness of our hearts — because we love you. Get this straight, we don’t owe you anything from now on.

We don’t owe you a college education. We would like to help you with one because we love you, but we don’t have to. We don’t owe you a place to live. We will be glad to provide one for you until you graduate from high school, but we don’t owe it to you.

Don’t like our rules? Fine, leave. Legally, we can even kick you out of OUR house right now, today, because — oh yeah — you are an adult. There would be no repercussions for us because we’re done, we did our job.”

Harsh but very effective.

The results were remarkable. Almost immediately the uppity teen attitudes changed. The yelling morphed into silent treatment as reality set in. Then, they started seeing themselves as adults, not just using the word as an excuse to stay out all night. The understanding that real life has real consequences began to dawn on them.

A bridge was crossed. Though not as fun, this transition is as beautiful as a toddler’s first steps.

THE Talk became less harsh with each chick as they readied for flight from the nest. The younger ones had the benefit of seeing their siblings go over the bridge before them. By the time The Boy was making his transition I barely had to mention it. He knew the drill.

It’s beautiful — “I can do what I want” became “I can’t wait until I have my own place.”

Mission accomplished.

David, GypsyNester.com

Fear Conquering & Scuba Diving

Learning to scuba dive has been a long dormant dream of mine. I’m a water person, a good swimmer and love to snorkel. Scuba seemed the next logical step.

So I crammed my not-so-perky butt into a wet suit, strapped 16 pounds of weight around my waist (apparently I’m very buoyant) and jumped in. And immediately FREAKED OUT…
CONTINUE READING >>

Fear ConqueringNow Okay, not exactly fearlessness, but I’m finding that I’m more drawn to crazy antics than I used to be. that the chicks are out of the nest I’m nurturing a new side effect – fearlessness.

Perhaps this effect is common in empty nesters – or at least with the baby boomer ones. Were we not the VW bus driving, world-changing, stickin’ it to the man, try-anything generation?

There must be some latent drive lurking beneath my ex-helicopter mommy exterior – and dammit – it’s getting my attention.

Learning to scuba dive has been a long dormant dream of mine. I’m a water person, a good swimmer and love to snorkel. Scuba seemed the next logical step.

So I crammed my not-so-perky butt into a wet suit, strapped 16 pounds of weight around my waist (apparently I’m very buoyant) and jumped in. And immediately FREAKED OUT.

There I was in the ocean, treading water like a madwomen, embarrassed and humbled. What happened? I had aced the pre-ocean part of the lesson. In the swimming pool I was amazing – a scuba diving machine if there ever was one. I was practically one of those Discovery Channel shark chasers.

My mind frantically tried to grasp where things went terribly awry…

On the boat I was excited. I even had built-in inspiration. A couple in their freaking 70s taking on a 100 foot dive with three generations of their family. My new heroes – maybe I could be one of their kids for the day. I was in awe.

We dropped anchor and the septuagenarians headed down (with their REAL children – the heartless brats) leaving us newbies behind. The strapping on of the paraphernalia got underway. Before long, I stood there with an air tank on my back (air is WAY heavier than one would think), a weight belt and an extremely binding vest with fifty bazillion tubes hanging off of it.
Overwhelmed, the meaning of the tubes started to escape me.

As I was led to the edge of the boat in flippers, with little peripheral vision because of the mask I was wearing, I began to unravel. This was not cool.
I switched on my panic mantra (people do this everyday and do not die, people do this everyday and do not die…) and jumped in.

My instructor, Shelly, was waiting for me at the safety rope. Sensing my discomfort, she gave me some extra encouragement before we headed down together. It was the sound of my Darth Vader breathing that sent me over the top, it completely filled my head and blocked out all of my senses. What I had envisioned as a lovely, free, beautiful dream became a claustrophobic nightmare.

I made it about five feet before giving the distress signal (the only thing I remembered from the swimming pool) and was hoisted back onto the boat like a defeated whale. Not my finest moment.

The kindly boat captain and I became fast friends as we sat alone for forty-five minutes while everyone else was having the time of their lives. I was angry, jealous and resolute. Luckily, this was a two-tank drive. I had another chance and I wasn’t going to blow it.

The elderly couple (I now disliked them with every fiber of my being) climbed out of the sea like Jacques Cousteau and started talking (with my husband, no less) about all the fabulous creatures they saw. Now I was REALLY angry, jealous and resolute. Apparently, this was the very mind set I needed to be in.

I jumped in again and down I went along the safety rope. Shelly stayed right in my face. I was petrified, but I was determined (people do this everyday and do not die…) terror would not win this time. Reaching the end, I clung to the bottom of the rope like it was my job.

At this critical point I realized that my main fear was that I was sinking when I normally would be floating. Being a control freak, this wasn’t sitting well with me at all.
My brain was telling me that if I let go of the rope I would continue to descend slowly until I was pinned forever on the ocean floor. I had forgotten that I had fins, strong legs and a capable instructor.

I let go.

Shelly took my hand and lead me to a sting ray hiding in the sand. Kneeling close by this strange and beautiful creature, the Darth Vader noise transcended into a calming yoga-like hum. The ray, deciding it wanted nothing more to do with us, got up and “flew” away. I gave chase. I hadn’t even realized that my fear was gone. I was simply one with the ocean.

Next step, certification. And, just maybe, I’ll have my own Discovery Channel shark chasing show.

All I have to do is punch the mean ones in their noses, right?

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Have you attempted scuba diving? Would you? What would be your biggest fear to conquer? Do you have one that you’d want to send me out on?

How to Prevent Gambling Addiction After Retirement


Your golden years and empty nest are both supposed to be pleasant. But preventing a gambling addiction isn’t always easy, nor is it possible when you don’t recognize the signs. So, pay attention to yourself and/or your loved one to meet the problem head-on before it’s too late…
CONTINUE READING >> 

Did you know that nearly 3% of the United States population admits to having a gambling problem? That amounts to over 10 million people, and many of them are retired seniors like us who are living on a budget. We’re seriously too old for this crap, so let’s learn what it is and how to prevent it.

What is gambling addiction?

Playing with probability in moderation is fine, but gambling addiction is something completely different. It’s characterized by an uneasy urge to continue betting regardless of the consequences. The reason it becomes addictive is because it releases reward hormones into your brain – much like drugs, alcohol, or sex.

If it’s left unchecked, your dependency on placing wagers can do significant damage to your finances. It’s also terrible for your mental health when it gets out of hand or when it starts negatively affecting the quality of your life. Thus, gambling addiction is pretty serious, especially if you’re trying to enjoy your newly empty nest.

FACT: Addiction to gambling is the world’s most common impulse control disorder, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Signs you may be addicted to gambling

It’s okay if you’re becoming a little obsessed with gambling. It’s an entertaining and rewarding pastime, and there’s always help if you need it. Still, the first step in prevention is recognizing there’s a problem. Here’s how you can tell:

    • You’re preoccupied with placing bets even when you’re doing other things.
    • You often think of ways to come up with more money for games.
    • Your wagers continually get bigger and bigger to provide a thrill.
    • You feel restless when you’re not able to gamble the way you’d like to.
    • You frequently use gambling to get away from guilt, anxiety, or depression.
    • You’ve lied to your loved ones about your wagers, whereabouts, or losses.
    • You’re in jeopardy of damaging your personal or professional life.
    • You’ve been caught stealing or defrauding to pay for your habit.
    • You chase losses as a way to get your money back.
    • You’ll ask your loved one for money or beg them to bail you out of trouble.
    • You can’t seem to cut back with any success.

Gambling addiction is marked by an inability to make rational decisions or set a gaming budget. It’s a compulsion that can tarnish your golden years, but it’s curable with counseling or group therapies.

5 ways to prevent gambling addiction after retirement

If you’re not already addicted to gambling, now is not the time to start. And if you feel like there may be a problem, early prevention is your best bet. So instead of chancing it, use these five techniques to prevent it altogether:

#1. Avoid temptation.

It’s harder to stay addicted to something when you don’t always have access to it. So, limit your opportunities for gambling or going to the casino, even if you have a lot of time on your hands these days. For bonus points, cut yourself off after a certain point.

#2. Find a few alternatives.

Pick a few pastimes that don’t involve making money wagers on games of chance. You’ve waited your whole life to have extra freedom for hobbies and interests. Don’t spoil the opportunity by squandering your resources on things that anyone could do. Remember how unique you really are.

#3. Play some free games.

You can still enjoy some of your favorite games without having to bet actual money on them. Try playing on your phone for points instead. It will give you a similar thrill while adding a layer of competition into the mix – all without busting your post-retirement budget for no good reason.

#4. Learn a new hobby or skill.

Now that you don’t have to take care of a family or report to work every day, you have plenty of time to pick up a new hobby or skill. Doing something that you’re already passionate about can help keep you interested even when you feel the urge to go out gambling.

#5. Consider the consequences.

Think about yourself and your family. Try to remember all of the plans you made when you were young. Retirement is supposed to be about rest and relaxation, not debt and undoing all your life’s work. If all else fails, seek professional help from a licensed clinical therapist as soon as possible.

The takeaway

Your golden years and empty nest are both supposed to be pleasant. But preventing a gambling addiction isn’t always easy, nor is it possible when you don’t recognize the signs. So, pay attention to yourself and/or your loved one to meet the problem head-on before it’s too late.

Marie Miguel Biography:
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with Mind-Diagnostics.org. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Are You Restless or Do You Have Adult ADHD?

Adults with ADHD typically feel restless and uneasy, especially if they’re unaware of their diagnosis. So, if you or someone you love suspects that adult ADHD may be a problem, seek counseling as soon as you can… CONTINUE READING >> 

You’ve already tried everything to calm yourself down and improve your focus, from strong sleeping pills and extreme lifestyle changes to gentle melatonin and even CBD. But nothing seems to work. You end up feeling restless and scatterbrained most of the day no matter what you do.

That’s a common problem for empty nesters, especially those who are ready to hit the road and start living their best lives. However, restlessness may be caused by more than just your desire to travel. In fact, the experts at Mind Diagnostics say it could be a sign of adult ADHD.

5 reasons you could be feeling restless

There are many causes of restlessness, including some that are purely emotional. Depending on what’s current going on in your life, you could experience bouts of anxiety or uneasiness at almost any time. But if you’re restless a bit too much for your liking, it could be caused by one of these five things:

#1. You have a long to-do list and a short window of time.

Life doesn’t slow down just because of your age, family structure, or occupation. Truth be told, it often gets more hectic as you start to enjoy forgotten pastimes again. Combined with all the demands of everyday life, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. And wanting quick solutions can make you feel agitated, fidgety, or irritable.

#2. You’re excited about the possibilities of something.

Your emotions can get mixed up and become confusing, causing you to worry more than you should. Positive anticipation is always a good thing, but it doesn’t always feel like it. Being excited about something that’s coming up or about to happen may make you experience uncomfortable emotions when you experience the same waves every time you’re upset.

#3. Your hormones could be imbalanced in some way.

Did you know that hormonal imbalances may cause feelings of extreme restlessness, especially in menopausal or perimenopausal women? That’s because the increases in estrogen make it difficult to sleep, thereby worsening the situation with each passing night. Meanwhile, men with imbalanced testosterone levels may experience the same thing in a different way.

#4. You might be taking medication that causes restlessness.

Certain medications are notorious for causing agitation, irritability, and/or an inability to concentrate. They can also change your brain or body chemistry over time, causing you to react differently to familiar stimuli. If you suspect your medicines are responsible for your restlessness, don’t stop taking them abruptly. Instead, talk to your doctor to develop a safer treatment plan.

#5. You may suffer from adult attention-deficit hyperactive disorder, or ADHD.

Nearly 4.5% of the North American population between the ages of 18 and 44 suffer from diagnosed ADHD. It’s unclear how many undiagnosed cases there are. One thing is for sure, though. Attention-deficit hyperactive disorder is difficult to spot in active, functional adults. However, it can make you feel extremely restless, especially when performing repetitive or mundane tasks.

What is adult ADHD?

This is a chronic condition, which means it persists regardless of what you’re doing. Symptoms can include hyperactivity, impulsivity, and repetitive body movements. Meanwhile, those with adult ADHD typically deal with a low self-esteem, poor school or work performances, and difficulty maintaining relationships.

Many times, the condition begins in early childhood. However, it was not officially recognized in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) until 1990. Thus, many cases fell through the cracks, causing some empty nesters to feel especially restless once their lifestyle shifts and they can no longer hide or cope under the weight of their previous habits.

How to tell if you’re an adult with ADHD

The many symptoms of adult ADHD can be grouped into three main categories as follows:

    • Behavioral
    • Mood
    • Cognitive

Behavioral symptoms of adult attention-deficit hyperactive disorder may include fidgeting, irritability, impatience, and a lack of self-control. Excessive risk-taking, substance abuse, and gambling addiction are common as well.

Mood symptoms generally include anxiousness, extreme boredom or excitement, and mood swings, while the cognitive side effects are somewhat more disruptive. In fact, they can include forgetfulness, racing thoughts, a short attention span, and even a learning disability.

Adults with ADHD typically feel restless and uneasy, especially if they’re unaware of their diagnosis. Instead of dealing with the issues head-on, they assume the worst about themselves and become even more concerned. So, if you or someone you love suspects that adult ADHD may be the problem, seek counseling from a licensed clinical therapist as soon as you can.

Marie Miguel Biography:
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with Mind-Diagnostics.org. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

Getting it Together Through Transference-Focused Psychotherapy

If you have people telling you to “Get yourself together” on any kind of regular basis, then it might be time to look in to a very specific type of treatment, transference-focused psychotherapy… CONTINUE READING >> 

Life’s ups and downs are perfectly normal, but if you have people telling you to “Get yourself together” on any kind of regular basis, then it might be time to look in to a very specific type of treatment, transference-focused psychotherapy.

This is most commonly used to help those with borderline personality disorder, which can include feelings and emotions that often come and go in rapid succession. Moods can swing from euphoria to depression, similar to bipolar disorder, except that the changes are abrupt and short lived but still very intense.

A bipolar person will experience high and low states for much longer, generally they will last from several days to even months.

Borderline personality disorder patients often feel anxious and nervous, which can lead to all sorts of harmful and impulsive behavior such as substance abuse and uncontrollable gambling or spending. Sometimes it may result in multiple personalities appearing, or a high risk of suicide. This is why it is so important to get treatment as soon a s possible.

That is where transference-focused psychotherapy comes in, it is typically a very well-structured therapy that meets twice a week to work on the patient’s internalized contradictory beliefs.

The therapist’s goal is to help the individual rectify any separate identities they may have, in order to develop a standard system of relating to the world. One way to go about this is to challenge some of the false conclusions that the patient has come to believe as facts.

The first step is to make sure that the they can clearly express their specific thoughts so as to define what they mean. It is important to describe these so it can be shown how they affect the individual in their day-to-day life.

The therapist can then build on this and hopefully bring the varied ideas and views into agreement with one another. This usually takes quite some time because it is a difficult proposition to change someone’s feelings about themselves. This means that a solid relationship needs to be formed between the therapist and the patient allowing for open discussions and the possibility to continue to challenge ideas.

Of course, it is good to remember that all types of therapy can take some time. This is even more true with transference-focused psychotherapy because the focus is on long-term goals and strategies rather than the short-term success in some other forms of therapy.

Success means helping the individual to reduce any risky or dangerous behaviors that they had been involved with, while learning to control themselves and form stronger, better relationships. Once that is accomplished, they can begin to work toward the goals they have set for their lives.

Obviously, this process can be time consuming and might create problems with people’s schedules, but luckily, as we discussed in this prior article, BetterHelp.com can help facilitate this, or almost any type of therapy, completely online.

We all have preconceived notions about psychotherapy, especially those of us with a few years under our belts, but much of what we think we know is just no longer the case. These days therapy is much more relaxed than the stereotype we have in our minds from movies and television.

And as we said, getting it together no longer needs to take place in a room with a couch, anywhere with WiFi will do.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

For more about BetterHelp.com and their programs, please see these previous articles we have shared on GypsyNester.com:

Some Observations about Online Therapy

Anxiety is Almost Unavoidable These Days

Don’t Let the Cost Stop You from Seeking Help

Exploring the Different Types of Therapy

Identifying Problems in the Present with Cognitive Psychotherapy

Examining the Role of Geriatric Psychiatry as our Loved Ones are Aging

Analyzing the Information in Psychiatry Articles

Artistic Expression as a Part of Art Therapy

Ever Wonder Why Therapists Take Notes?

The Art of Trying Something New: 8 Things to Do as an Empty Nester

Once you become an empty nester, your home can seem a little lonely. The good news is that you are still in the prime of your life, so it’s time to begin working towards your goals again. Here’s some ideas to get you started…
CONTINUE READING >> 

Once you become an empty nester, your home can seem a little lonely. It can leave you wondering what to do now that you have fewer obligations. The good news is that you are still in the prime of your life, now with more time to devote to your hobbies and to explore your interests.

It’s time to begin working towards your goals again, the goals you set aside to raise your children. If beginning your quest for improvement is daunting, here’s a list of ideas to get you started.

Travel the world

Now that your kids have flown the coop, why don’t you fly the world? There are several out-of-the-box ways to explore foreign places, and they don’t have to break the bank. Some occupations will pay you to travel. Jobs like seasonal resort work can take you to exotic locations and even pay you to be there. For those jet-setters at heart, travel nursing presents an unrivaled opportunity to add to your passport collection. Up for the fast-paced lifestyle? Utilize resources like these that’ll act as a springboard to exotic adventures. As a bonus, traveling nurses can select the destinations they desire from a list of options.

Improve your skills

Always wanted to improve your sketching skills but never had the time? How about that long-time dream to learn how to bake? Now is the time to seize the day and gain some new talents or improve upon old ones. Local classes or online tutorials are a great resource that offers a wealth of information.

Redecorate

Now that your nest is empty, why not redecorate it? Chances are your little chicks took their old furniture with them when they moved out, so now is an excellent time to freshen up the wall paint and rearrange the furniture. You can finally create that library or study that you’ve always imagined.

Start writing

Now you have more free time; you can finally finish (or begin) that novel you’ve always wanted to write. Put pen to paper and start scribbling.

Start a small business

 Why not make your hobbies lucrative by creating a small business? If you love photography, art, or even cookie decorating, there’s a market out there for hand-crafted goods you create on Etsy or local markets.

Adopt an animal

If you’re feeling a little down that you’ve officially become an empty nester, consider adopting a pet to lift your spirits. Petting your feline friend or walking your canine companion will help add some purpose back into your life.

Volunteer

Volunteering offers a productive way to fill your day. Consider volunteering in an old folks home or a classroom. You will find new purpose and new friends while working to better your community.

Create a garden

If you still feel the need to nurture, look to gardening as an excellent empty-nester hobby. Gardening will reward you with lovely flowers or delicious veggies in return for your hard work in the dirt.

Wrap up

Though at first having an empty nest may seem melancholy, you’ll soon find yourself enjoying your additional free time. With fewer obligations, empty nesters have incredible opportunities to work towards personal improvement and traveling.

We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.