Retirement is a very tricky life transition that can come with a whole host of positive or negative consequences for the individual. It all depends on the individual’s personality, life experiences and outlook towards this new phase. The truth is, we as humans spend most of our lives working – and it is an imperative part of our life cycle. Work provides structure and routine, but also comes with immense stress and pressure. So, one may understand that work (whatever the actual vocation itself is) is something that consumes the majority of our lives. So, when the time comes for us to retire – many ask the question: ‘So what now?’ or ‘What next?’

There is no one right answer those fits everybody.

Many people who retire may find themselves to be happier, to be more energetic and freer. I see and hear many members of the young generation saying that they cannot wait to retire so that they can spend the rest of their lives doing whatever they want. In fact, retirement is indeed considered by many to be a time to focus and improve oneself, and to tick things off from their bucket list that may have never been achieved had they continued to work. 

The pitfalls of retirement

The above may be the case for many, but for others, retirement also comes with a host of negative consequences. Some may lose parts of their self-identity because they are no longer defined by their vocation or their jobs. Some may also suffer anxiety or depression because of the loss of financial status, loss of work friendships and connections, and because they simply do not know what to do with the significant added time they have on their hands. Retirement may also come with issues about loneliness or even family and couple intimacy issues. 

How does one process this significant life transition?

How does one cope with these aforementioned changes? There are several simple steps that make coping with retirement slightly easier: 

  • Read and keep your mind active
  • Reflect and process feelings
  • Exercise and keep your body active 
  • Maintain social relations
  • Structure your time and establish a routine 
  • Volunteering activities

So, to conclude, retirement is ultimately what you decide to make out of it. Yes, it is a new phase, and yes, it is a significant life event – but there is always an activity you can do to keep going. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here

Yaser Teebi works as a Clinical Psychology Practitioner at Willingness and works with clients with complex issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, chronic pain, grief and cognitive impairment. Yaser Teebi has graduated from the following degrees with Merit: Bachelor of Psychology (Hons), a Master of Gerontology and Geriatrics, and a Master of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, all at the University of Malta. He is currently reading for a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Geriatrics at the University of Birmingham.