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Retirement is part of our stages of life. It involves changing our lifestyle to fit another. While people do joke about wanting to retire, it’s a different story when you’re actually going to retire. Your working days become limited, which is all you’ve known for years, so you ask yourself “what now?”

Here are some useful tips to try help you cope with your retirement;

  • Be aware of your emotions – Your new-found sense of freedom might feel exciting but by time this emotion will change. Once you settle into your slower paced lifestyle, you might then begin to feel the sense of freedom becoming mundane. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and guilt for not appreciating your retirement as much as you should. The best way to cope with this is to let your feelings be experienced. Do not suppress them otherwise this might lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as food binging. Thus, allow yourself to experience all the emotions that come your way and then cope with them in a healthier way; reading, going for a walk, starting a sport, and so on.
  • Plan for it – Retirement might feel like a vacation that will last forever, but even for vacations we tend to plan our days. When you were working, you had a routine; your alarm rang, breakfast, shower, go to work. Thus, plan a retirement routine to keep you on track. Try out different activities at different times and see what works best for you. Just by simply having an alarm to get your day started might make you feel like your life is still normal.
  • Strengthen your relationships – Now is the time to reflect on your relationship with your family, friends and your partner. Make sure to schedule meeting your relatives and friends when you’re planning your days. This will ensure that your relationships with them remains strong and continues to grow. Even your relationship with your partner is redefined. If you’re both retired, then you’ll be spending much more time together than before. As much as you love them, being constantly with them might become overwhelming. Communicate and share your feelings with one another; express when you want time alone and when you want to spend time together, for example, making sure to always have lunch together.
  • Think about your spending habits – The way you spend your money will change. Sometimes, you’re lucky enough that your retirement income matches that of your working income. However, other times people aren’t as lucky. Thus, it would be helpful to give yourself a budget of how much you will spend on what each month. This will inevitably reduce your impulse buying and eating out. Think of new ways to enjoy your time by, for example, making home cooked meals which will be just as good as food from outside but more within your budget. Obviously, keep in mind that unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, might pop up.  For this reason, budget some money aside each month for these.
  • Be flexible – At the end of the day, it’s up to you to how you want to spend your retirement. There’s no need to rush to figure it out but take your time. The best part of retirement is that you have as much time as you want to experiment and try out new things. Eventually, it will all fit into place.

Just remember that your retirement is the time for you to finally relax. It will be different to your working years but anticipating the changes and planning for them will make the transition easier and smoother.

Mandy is a Gestalt psychotherapist who enjoys working therapeutically with adults on various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing. She also has experience working with anxiety, victims of domestic violence and eating disorders.

References:

  1. Hughes, D. (2016). 5 First Year of Retirement Surprises. USnews. Retrieved from https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/articles/2016-09-08/5-first-year-of-retirement-surprises.
  2. Morin, A. (2020). How to Adjust to Retirement. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-adjusting-to-retirement-4173709.