You’ve put in the hours, days, years, and decades. And now it’s time to clock out and say farewell to the hustle and bustle and hello to retirement. Retirement is something we strive for and anxiously await, even for those of us who had a career we loved. It’s almost like a rite of passage. However, some older adults can find adjusting to retirement takes a bit longer than we anticipated. Whether you’re approaching retirement soon or have already made the switch from employed to retired, here are some tips for adjusting to retirement.
Why Retirement Can Be Difficult
Retirement is often a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, as it can bring about a mix of emotions. Retired life is often thought of and depicted as a permanent vacation. A life where you can come and go as you please and not have to answer to a boss or superior. In theory and on the outside, that sounds great for anyone currently riding the nine-to-five work train, but for adults going through it, a “permanent vacation” can be scary and lonely.
Many new retirees experience a loss of purpose as they make the transition from being employed to retired. No more job titles, tasks to accomplish, deadlines to meet, and, more than anything, no more coworkers to socialize with. Humans are social creatures that thrive with structure. This new reality and way of life can lead to feeling lost and bored. But fortunately, there are ways to combat this emotional upheaval and make the adjustment so you can enjoy retirement.
Embrace Your Emotions
We just mentioned the variety of emotions you may feel or will soon feel. Embrace them! Retirement is a major life change. You’re bound to have a mixture of emotions. Don’t suppress them or ignore them. Let it all out and find healthy ways to manage your feelings. Maybe it would help to talk to a counselor or close friend. If you like to write, try journaling. Exercise can also help with the release of emotions.
Stick to a Schedule
One of the biggest adjustments that retirees have to make is the lack of structure. When we’re working, our days and hours are pretty much set for us. We have a set routine that we know and follow day after day. Sure, it probably changed from time to time, but we had a structure that provided comfort and eliminated the unknown.
Once retired, create a new schedule for yourself. Try waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day. Give yourself tasks during the day, such as running errands, having set meals, and making time for friends. Keeping some sort of structure will help you to feel in control and will alleviate the onset of boredom.
Another big thing that takes some adjusting to during retirement is the lack of social interaction. Work is where we meet new friends and establish our social network. Leaving that social scene can leave us feeling pretty empty. As you’re adjusting to retirement, make it a priority to stay connected and expand your social network. Reach out to friends you haven’t had time to visit with because you were busy with work. Get to know your neighbors better. Volunteer. Join some social groups and make new friends. This will help to fill that social void that is common post-retirement.
Continue to Set Goals
We all need to have a sense of purpose. And work is usually where we find our biggest purpose. Once retired, set some goals that you’d like to achieve. If you’ve always wanted to learn to play an instrument, give it a go. It will provide you with something to work toward. If you like to read, set a goal to read a certain number of books. Set goals that suit your lifestyle and situation. It can be anything and as simple as walking 10,000 steps a day. Whatever you decide to do, strive for it.
Take Time to Enjoy Retirement
Adjusting to retirement is no easy task. It’s like accepting that your world is turned completely upside down. Everything you have known for decades is suddenly done and over, and you are now free to do whatever you want. That’s a lot to take in at once. Be kind to yourself. If you have a rough day, let it go and move on to the next. Retirement can easily be overwhelming.
The most important thing to remember is to simply enjoy yourself. You’ve worked hard to reach this transition in your life. And now you get to reap the rewards. Your time is your time. Retirement can be whatever you want to make it. So here’s to a relaxing and enjoyable retirement!