Retirement is a major life transition. And all transitions come with adjustments.
Life changes after retirement. Everything work-related is gone. Everything we got used to is gone. There are no more schedules, early commutes, and daily routines.
Most of us imagine life in retirement to be like a delightful vacation – no alarm clock, no schedule, no deadlines, and no stress. Just sleeping in, having a morning coffee on a deck, reading a book, going for a long walk, or staying up late with a glass of wine. However, we need to realize that transitioning from a work-oriented lifestyle to retirement includes a big adjustment.
Unfortunately, a honeymoon period is often followed by a feeling of disappointment. Sooner or later, it might be a big contrast between expectation and reality. No wonder it will take time to find your own way to a new life in retirement, and you need to be prepared for that challenge.
I have created a list of helpful tips for a smooth transition to retirement. Try these tips to create a new life for yourself.
Prepare for ups and downs.
The first year of retirement will be filled with bumps and adjustments no matter how well you are prepared. Do not expect the transition from your 30 or more years of work to retirement to happen without stress and anxiety.
There are going to be surprises and disappointments down the road before you settle into something comfortable. There may be times when you feel lonely, isolated or a bit lost, which is normal.
Like many other life transitions, retirement comes with emotional and mental adjustments. Your transition to retirement will not happen overnight. Most retirees will go through stages of emotions when adjusting to a new life. Give yourself some time by understanding that this will be a process.
Do not spend your time dwelling on the thoughts about the end of your career, loss of identity, loss of social connections, and purpose in life. Accept that you have done all you can working for many years and focus on your next phase of life. Make peace with it and move on to your next challenge.
Develop a routine.
We all need structure in life and our job helped create that structure for many years. When we stop working the structure is gone.
What happens when you retire? It is Monday morning, but you do not need to go anywhere. There is nothing planned. There is no alarm clock, no morning rush, and no early meetings or deadlines.
The first few days or weeks will be exciting. You can sleep late, read in bed, or catch on your favorite Netflix shows. But I am sure that by the end of the week or month you will start feeling bored, isolated, and maybe a bit depressed. The fun is gone, and you will be glad to go back to something more meaningful in your life.
That is why you need to develop a routine and create a “new normal”. Some people love to have a daily routine, while others cannot bear to have everything predictable. But without proper planning and developing daily activities to get you up every morning, your retirement life will be dull.
Setting up personal goals can be a powerful tool for finding purpose in life and helping you with the transition. Your retirement goals are maybe a little bit different than when you were working.
Your pre-retirement life was structured around achieving mostly professional and financial goals. After you retire, you still need to set goals for yourself to ensure you feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Overall, goals give us a sense of direction. And with direction comes a sense of purpose. Make a list of your goals the same way you make a ‘to do’ list. Think about goals you want to achieve in six months or a year. Writing down your plans on a piece of paper will help you stay focused on a new life.
Find your path.
How you transition from the workplace to retirement will depend on many factors. It will depend on your financial situation, your health, and your vision of what retirement will be like. And you will set yourself for a smooth transition to retirement if you plan for that ahead of time.
Think about whether you want to spend your free time doing something similar you did before retirement, or if you want to try something different. Write down a list of interests and activities that brings you joy even some of them you might put on the back burner for a while. Do not forget to include in your list new things you like to learn.
Discovering something new you have never done before can be a great way to step out of your comfort zone. Now that you have more time, there is a whole new world out there waiting to be discovered.
All those things we regret not having time to do during our working years can act as an inspiration when we transition to retirement. There are endless possibilities to explore once you have time and the freedom of retirement. It can be sports and travels, learning a new language or instrument, starting an art project, or home renovation.
Keep in touch with your friends from work.
Losing your network of co-workers and office friends can be hard. Eventually, life in the office will go on without you. Even though you are retired, it does not mean you have to lose contact with the group of your office friends completely.
A simple email, text message, or phone call can lead to regular catch-up meetings with your friends from work. Also, you can make arrangements for lunch or dinner dates once a month to stay in touch with your ex-colleagues. Most workplace friends will be happy to catch up with an old friend they have not seen for a while.
Once you retire, it is easy to become involved in other activities outside of the workplace. But keeping workplace friendships alive during retirement can help you mentally adjust to life without work.
Focus on your health and fitness.
We should all aim to stay fit and healthy to enjoy retirement. There are so many ways to be physically active by walking, gardening, exercising, swimming, hiking, etc. If you have not made exercise a normal part of your life while still working, retirement is a good time to develop this habit. Just going for a walk in a park or trail can do wonders for your mood.
Lately, practicing meditation as a strategy to relieve stress and anxiety has become more popular than ever. I do not know how often you should meditate, but some articles are suggesting that 10 to 20 minutes of meditation a day can be very beneficial for your well-being.
What you eat and how often you exercise will impact your health. Being active and eating healthy food can add more years to your life and save money on future medical bills. Make sure that you eat regular meals instead of snacking if it was your habit while at work.
Do not forget to go for a regular health check-up because prevention is better than cure. Regular visits to your doctor might help to prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of dementia.
Get your finances in order.
You will set yourself for a smooth transition to retirement if you get your finances in order before you retire. It will be easier to adjust to a new life without a regular paycheck if you know what you will have to live on.
Look at your current spending and figure out what you need in your new life and what you do not. You might learn that some of your expenses will decrease, but some will increase with time.
There is no need to spend money on business clothes, commute, take-out lunches, and other work-related things. But you will want to spend more money on travels, activities, and hobbies. Unfortunately, your medical expenses will increase with time.
I recommend creating a retirement budget that will help you see how much money you need for fun and entertainment and how much to cover your living expenses. You might discover you need to keep working longer or take a part-time job to cover your new lifestyle in retirement. Or you might learn you have enough money saved and can retire early.
Related Retirement Planning Articles:
- How to Prepare a Retirement Budget in 5 Simple Steps
- 15 Ways to Live on Less Money in Retirement
- 6 Steps Guide to Organizing Finances for Retirement
- 7 Financial Mistakes to Avoid in Retirement
Most of us look forward to retirement as a time to relax and enjoy our golden years. Finally, we can do whatever we want and when we want. But the transition from work life to retirement comes with its own challenges.
Many people will learn how to adjust to retirement life in different ways. Everyone’s path will be unique. But you will know how to deal with challenges if you are prepared. Following the tips above will help you adjust to retirement better so you can feel happy during your new phase of life.
Have you thought about transitioning to retirement? Do you feel prepared for your new phase of life? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Like this article? Share it!