You’ve worked for decades knowing that retirement was on the horizon, and though you may have loved your career, you can’t help but look forward to the extra time that retirement brings. However, some older adults find that adjusting to retirement takes a little longer than expected. Whether you are approaching retirement soon or already retired, here are a few tips for making the adjustment to retired life easier.
Why Adjusting to Retirement Can Be Difficult
That older adults may have problems adjusting to a retirement lifestyle can seem counterintuitive. However, many adults identify strongly with their profession, and leaving that role can create feelings of loneliness and a loss of purpose. Beyond the feelings associated with leaving work friends, retirees also face more decisions and worries about finances.
Sometimes, worries about living on a fixed income or losing a sense of value can keep older adults in the workplace. A recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that nearly 1 in 4 adults 65 or older are still a part of the workforce, choosing to forgo retirement for full- or part-time work.
However, retirement doesn’t have to feel overwhelming, and your transition into life outside the office can be easier with a few of our tips.
Stick to a Schedule
Though you no longer have to wake up with the sun to catch a train or beat the traffic to your office in the morning, you should still find a regular schedule that works for your body’s natural rhythm. Sticking to a schedule on a typical day can make you feel more in control and less bored with your new free time.
Try to wake up and head to bed at consistent times to ensure your sleep doesn’t suffer as you get used to retirement. You can also eat meals around the same time each day. Then, schedule activities around this daily rhythm.
Now that you have your retirement daily rhythm, you can start peppering in scheduled activities. Meet friends at the gardens near your home for a morning walk, take a photography class with your local park district, or start a book club for your neighborhood.
A pleasantly busy calendar will keep you active without overwhelming you. Plus, you will get to meet new friends and develop stronger relationships with old ones.
Social connections are crucial at every age. However, research has demonstrated that feelings of connection are even more important as we age. Unfortunately, retirement takes older adults out of the workplace, where they cultivated friendships and relationships with co-workers for years. Though you may not be visiting with your work pals over coffee in the break room, you can use your new time to build friendships with neighbors and peers.
Meet new friends and reconnect with peers by attending events and activities hosted by your city, local park district, community library, or senior center. Search for activities that speak to your current hobbies or new ones that seem interesting. You are more likely to strike up a conversation with someone who shares similar interests.
Increase your endorphins, the “feel good” hormones you naturally release when you exercise, by committing to healthy movement daily. Start daily walks in your neighborhood or hikes in a nearby forest preserve, train for a 5K or half-marathon, take a yoga class, or try your hand at snowshoeing in the winter. Exercise will keep your body and mind healthy and can even open up your social circle. Just be sure to check with your physician before you begin any strenuous program.
Get Expert Advice
Finally, if financial concerns in retirement keep you up at night, make time to check in with your financial planner regularly. You can seek their advice before making any major decisions, ensuring you feel confident when going through with any major expenditures or investments.
Looking for more ideas about how to make recreation the center of your retirement plans? Download our free resource, “The Busy Person’s Guide to Recreation in Retirement,” for some inspiration as you plan your calendar.
Here’s to a pleasantly busy and fulfilling retirement! You deserve it.