Whether you are looking forward to retirement, or are dreading what it will be like, retirement brings with it a change in lifestyle and preparation is key for psychological wellbeing. The following are 5 points to reflect on as you near retirement age.
Finances – While I will not be going into financial planning in this blog, it is important to consider this crucial step and how you would be supporting yourself when you are no longer in full-time employment. Consider how you plan to support yourself financially, whether you will be supporting other people as well, whether you will remain living in the same house or whether you want to downsize or change locality. Having financial contingency plans can also help you plan for any unexpected turns along the years.
Create a realistic day-to-day plan – Identify what you would like to do once you retire. The first days/months of retirement can feel like an extended holiday. However, the reality that there is no work to go back to will eventually hit and this can lead to feeling lost and confused. It’s therefore important for some daily structure to still be present in your life. Identify hobbies and activities that you would like to pursue once you have more time on your hands. Perhaps you have a hobby you would like to become better at, or want to start a new activity. Do you have any lifelong goals that you would still like to achieve? You might also want to consider working reduced hours or volunteering with an NGO.
Meet new people – When we spend long hours working, it’s normal for our closest colleagues to also become our friends. Once you hit retirement though, you might find that communication with them can become more limited, as they are still working and you are not. It’s therefore supportive to meet new people and have friends outside the work environment that you can turn to.
Prepare for a change in identity – Retirement brings with it a change in identity which can be challenging for people who identify themselves through their work. Be aware of this upcoming change and support yourself by identifying other roles you play in society. For example, you are not only an accountant but you are also a father and a neighbour. By seeing the different roles you hold, you will be able to support yourself better when the new role of a retiree comes along.
Adjustment takes time – Any big change in life takes time to adjust to. No matter how much you plan ahead, change can be difficult and unexpected turns can happen along the way. It’s ok to take the time to adjust to this new way of life and the emotions that this brings along. Staying active and eating healthy can be vital in your adjustment as they support you in being resilient during this big lifestyle change and new way of life.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Petra Borg is a Trainee Gestalt Psychotherapist currently reading for a Masters in Gestalt Psychotherapy from the Gestalt Therapy Institute Malta (GPTIM) and working at Willingness as a Trainee Psychotherapist. She has experience as a Triage Officer and has also worked closely with Willingness over several years, coordinating the international internship programme and providing support over diverse events and initiatives.
MFSA. (n.d.). Preparing for Retirement. Author. https://www.mfsa.mt/consumers/consumer-awareness-and-education/life-stage/retirement-planning/preparing-for-retirement/
Morin, A. (2020). 8 tips for adjusting to retirement. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-adjusting-to-retirement-4173709
Robinson, L., & Smith, M. (2021). Adjustment to retirement: Handling the stress and anxiety. HelpGuide. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/aging-issues/adjusting-to-retirement.htm