When planning to retire, often the biggest concern is having enough money. While financial security is definitely an important factor there are many other elements that are key to making your retirement happy and rewarding.
These include physical health, mental health, social connectivity, and redefining your sense of purpose. As these areas will no longer be fulfilled by working, planning for a healthy balance on these elements can assist in avoiding loneliness, boredom, lack of stimulation and even depression.
It’s important to remember that this new phase of your life can be a little difficult to adjust to at first.
When you retire it’s easy to reduce your physical activity and we know that physical activity is vital for maintaining your health as we age.
There are many ways to keep active and maintain a physical lifestyle. Exploring new physical activities, joining a gym, activity groups or taking up a new sport are all great ways to keep your physical activity interesting and varied. Following a healthy diet and having routine check-ups are also important in maintaining your physical health.
Finding mental stimulation in retirement can assist to avoid boredom and depression.
Surround yourself with positive and like minded family and friends. Plan activities that stimulate the brain and challenge you. Start a new hobby or join a special interest group. Explore new fields of interest to challenge your mind. Continue learning by taking up study or a short course in a field that interests you. Contemplate a secondary career or a volunteer role as you transition into full retirement.
Most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself as you progress through this new time of change.
The friendships and social contact that work has provided for many years can be disrupted by retirement.
It is important to avoid social isolation and grow your friendships and connections when retiring. Plan regular social activities with family and friends. Make social interaction a part of most days. To make new friends explore hobby groups, sports groups/clubs, community and church activities or even volunteering. Often local communities have many programs and activities in place that help people socialise, for example community classes, common interest groups and community gardens.
Even babysitting grandchildren is great for social interaction, by attending places with your grandchildren and meeting other parents and grandparents.
Redefining your Sense of Purpose
Retirement may mean less pressure and stress however for some this may also come with a loss in self-worth and self-identity. After years of contributing and being relied upon in your workplace, retirement can leave a void in your sense of purpose.
There are many ways to re-establish your purpose in life after ending your employment. Think about what’s important to you, how you want to contribute, what you want to change or accomplish and who you want to be now that you have retired. This will all help assist you in maintaining a meaningful life throughout retirement.
Volunteering can be a great way to fulfil your purpose. Choose an organisation or charity that is close to your heart and contact them to see how you can help.
Planning ahead is an important part of creating a balance in retirement. This includes planning your retirement finances, social and physical activities, and all the things you always wanted to do in retirement such as travelling, house renovations and large purchases.
If routine is important to you then structuring your days in retirement is a good idea and can assist with creating a pattern. Having set wake up times and meal times can also benefit your health and well-being.
A retirement budget is part of planning and should include large purchases and activities such as travel.
Goal planning is still important in retirement and can assist with the transition from work. Instead of having work goals, plan some retirement goals and look for new opportunities. This can help with your sense of purpose and achievement.
Planning will also help you avoid boredom and loneliness by incorporating physical, social and hobby related activities. Good plans will fill the void that retirement can bring if you are unprepared.
Your planning can be as simple or complex as suits your needs and personality, however planning is a crucial part of finding balance and removing stress in your retirement.
It’s important to remember that this new phase of your life can be a little challenging to adjust to at first. Be prepared to go through different stages of emotions, such as feeling an initial freedom, followed by anxiety and boredom as time goes on and you settle into a routine. Concentrating on balancing the above tips will help you get through these and other emotions.
To get more retirement advice or help, speak with those who have already happily retired. Listen to what they do, what has and hasn’t worked for them in their own journey.
Retirement is a new and exciting stage of life full of potential and opportunity, it’s up to you to create your retirement and live the life you have always wanted to.