How have YOU been adjusting as a retiree?
You’ve likely thought a lot about how you’re going to enjoy your golden years. But there’s a good chance you never gave much thought to the psychological effect retirement might have on you. Retirement often means a loss of identity.
Whether you identified as a chef or teacher, retirement can cause you to question who you are as a person now that you’re no longer working. Other issues accompanying retirement, such as more time and less money, can also make for a difficult adjustment.
Some seniors experience mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, after they stop working. If you’re in the early stages of retirement and feel somewhat lost, you’re not alone. Many people find that the transition can be difficult.
So we came up with some great tips on how to help you adjust to this period better to feel fulfilled and happy during this chapter of your life. So, what is a new retiree to do?
Let’s discuss eight helpful tips for adjusting to retirement to help you navigate the challenges you may not have been expecting.
1. Expect to experience an emotional rollercoaster
Any new phase of life will probably bring some emotional turmoil, and it’s no different for a retiree. At first, you’re likely to feel thrilled and free. After all, you’ve been looking forward to this period for decades!
But soon, the novelty wears off, and you may begin to feel some less pleasant emotions. Some retirees start to think, “Oh, no! What did I do?” If your mind starts to go there, you might feel anxious.
If you find yourself fighting a storm of emotions, the key is to LET them run free. Allow yourself to experience each one of them without trying to suppress them.
It’s healthy and normal to go through these stages, though you’ll want to find some positive coping methods to deal with them. This means diving into hobbies like reading, crafting, or volunteering for some people.
Other retirees find that exercises like walking or yoga are helpful, and some people find that more social interaction is the key to adjusting. It would be best if you also avoided negative coping strategies like relying on alcohol.
2. Plan your days
Retirement can bring a monotonous life. So, just don’t get into it. You can schedule your days and plan certain activities that bring joy into your life. Try some nature therapy.
Before retirement, you had your routine down pat: Alarm goes off, shower, breakfast, prep lunch, get to work. If you flourish with a schedule, you can establish a routine that helps you adjust and plan your days.
Experiment with various activities and time management to see how they work out. Schedule some time for lounging with a newspaper and enjoying a cup of Joe, but add some regular time for exercise, volunteer opportunities, social activities, and family meals.
Though your days don’t need to be rigid, having a routine can help you feel more normal now that you aren’t working. It’s all about adjusting to this new life!
3. Start small: set some goals
You’ve already done enough! Now, it’s time to make the most of your life and enjoy it as much as possible. Retirement is an opportunity to work on those small goals that are different from before.
If you feel like you can be a good cook, make some videos and upload them without a second thought. For many retirees, their prior work lives were measured by making deadlines. In retirement, you should also create goals for yourself.
They don’t need to be some huge and overwhelming goals. It’s best to start small, so you can feel calculated and achieve a sense of accomplishment with each intent you meet. Start off by laying out a few milestones you’d like to hit in your first six months.
Do you want to start exercising a bit each day? Are you planning on learning a new hobby? Whatever your personal goals are, write them down and plan to achieve them.
4. Grow your relationships
The retirement phase is the perfect time to team up with your partner and enjoy this stage as much as possible. There’s a significant risk of becoming isolated as a retiree.
After decades of meeting chums through work and seeing them every day, it might not be easy to keep up with those dear to you. This can be a massive part of you restructuring your daily routine.
Ask someone to meet you for lunch every Tuesday, another friend to walk through the neighborhood with you on Thursdays, and a third pal to grab a coffee with you on Saturday afternoons.
If you and your spouse have “couple” friends, try to invite them over for dinner at least once a month. If you don’t feel like there are enough people in your life to keep you socially active, take advantage of this time to make new friends.
Check out any programs offered at your local community center, or find a group of like-minded individuals who share a passion for your favorite hobby.
5. Consider a part-time job
Many retirees thrive by trying out a low-stress job after retirement. If you feel like still working a bit more, don’t stress out. You can choose to consider a part-time job of your choosing. If you’ve been an accountant, you can look into consulting.
If you think you’re a good artist, you can teach art classes to small children. Some people choose to work part-time in a brand-new industry, while others might opt to consult in their long-time field of expertise.
Many retirees feel happier and healthier if they continue working a few hours or more a week. Some studies from the University of Oregon showed that people who continue working even after age 65 often live longer than retirees who stop working altogether.
6. Set a new budget
You’ve probably saved up some money to enjoy your retirement phase. However, we never know what life will throw at us. So, you might want to make a new budget, cut off unnecessary expenses, and invest in health insurance.
This way, you’ll be able to evaluate how much money you have for the fun stuff! In a perfect world, you’ve saved enough to last 20 or so years. But if you’re like most people, there’s a fair chance you might fall a bit short.
Calculate what you need in your NEW life and make some adjustments. For example, you can get rid of that clothing budget you always spent on business clothes. Still, you might need to add a category for membership fees for various organizations you hope to join.
Try organizing and writing everything down in a planner to help you stay on track. You can find a great planner on Amazon, at an affordable price, and it will get the job done. I have this one in my bag all the time and I love it, so check it out!
Set a budget that will help you see how much money you have for entertainment. You might realize you need a part-time job to take a yearly vacation.
Or, you might discover that you have enough money left over to take your grandchildren for ice cream once a week.
If you’re not ready to start a part-time job, you can begin volunteering. It can provide you with a sense of purpose. It can also boost your psychological well-being. Don’t wanna go back to the 9-5 office grind? We get it.
You may realize that you’d reap the same benefits by volunteering every week. The perks might be related to the grown social ties that volunteering provides or a person’s sense of purpose by committing to a charitable cause.
And besides improving your psychological well-being, it could improve your cardiovascular health and lower the risk of hypertension, as well.
Whether you choose to help out at a library or you decide you’d like to volunteer at your local hospital, we suggest you look for ways to get involved in your community.
8. Be flexible
There might be some days when you may not feel like doing anything. Therefore, welcome such days and become flexible towards every feeling and emotion related to your mind and body. There are many different ways to spend your time.
And fortunately for you, there’s no need to figure it all out TODAY. Retirement is a huge transition period in your life, so allow yourself the grace to “figure it out” in your own time.
Try out new hobbies, structure your days differently, get creative about how you spend your time, and really learn what makes you feel the most fulfilled.
Many retirees don’t get it right on the first try, so be patient with yourself as you experiment during this transitional time until you find the right balance. You can always increase your social activities later on or develop new hobbies if you want to stay busier.
The great part about retirement is that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to test out what works for you. It’s up to YOU to design the kind of life you want to live.
Hopefully, you feel a little better about adjusting to your new life after reading this. And if you’re looking for some more great advice, we have this gem for you: Retirement: How Far $1 Million Can Last You on The West Coast!