Redefining Retirement – Denise Williams - Rhythm in Retirement

Redefining Retirement
Denise Williams Hooping

When former CPS Occupational Therapist, Denise Williams, retired in 2019, she planned for a retirement filled with activities that stimulated her mind and body. Denise envisioned daily visits to the health club, dance classes, and teaching her “Holistic Hoop,” classes at various events. However, the unforeseen challenges of the pandemic caused Denise to reevaluate her plans.  

“So much changed in my life during COVID-19 and that was shocking to me. The social isolation and fear-based responses to daily medical updates forced me to create a new rhythm,” said Denise. 

Instead of letting circumstances dampen her spirits, Denise embraced creativity as a means of self-expression and connection. She used social media to share her passion for hula hooping with the world. Through weekly sessions titled “Hoop in Place/Shelter in Place,” she demonstrated therapeutic, wellness, and artistic aspects of weighted hoop dancing.  

Drawing from her background as an Occupational Therapist and Wellness Counselor, Denise emphasizes the importance of self-care and wellness practices in retirement.  

“I know the benefits of fitness, stretching, movement, laughter, meditation, and nutrition,” said Denise. “Throughout my career, I was expected to educate and therapeutically address my students, staff, and administrators. I am no different now. I incorporate aspects of occupational therapy and wellness every day.”  

Denise uses her freedom in retirement to learn and travel. Her passion for learning shows in her dedication to studying French through Duolingo and achieving top rankings in language. This month, Denise is traveling to London and Paris with a colleague. They intend to visit various sites throughout the cities and film themselves hooping. 

For others who are close to retiring, Denise offers practical advice. She encourages retirees to embrace rhythm by participating in multiple activities per week that promote personal growth, social interaction, and a sense of purpose. “Rhythm is important to well-being,” she concludes.  

Visit Denise’s website,, to keep up with her travels, find more information about her classes, and follow her on social media. 

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