You’ve taken the plunge and retired. Congratulations! The realization hits you, you’ve got more time on your hands than you know what to do with. In the beginning, you may welcome having no obligations and extra time to lounge around; however, as time goes on you may start to feel stagnant. Some even report feeling lonely. Not to worry! I’ve put together a few items to help plan your days in retirement and combat loneliness.
Create a routine
Just because you are retired doesn’t mean you can’t still have structure. Change your perspective. Rather than looking at it as losing your routine, think of it as creating a new one filled with fun items you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because of work obligations.
You don’t have to throw your whole routine out. Keep the items on your list that transfer over into retirement. This can look like getting up in the morning and still doing your exercise regime and getting your morning coffee. Afterwards, instead of heading into the office maybe you want to tackle that junk drawer you’ve never gotten around to cleaning out. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to set your guest bedroom up as a crafting space. This is your time to make things happen!
I’ve decluttered everything, now what?
You may start to run out of things to tidy around your house and boredom may start to seep in. Don’t panic! Now it’s time for the fun part. Do you remember all the things you dreamed you’d do in retirement? Now it’s time to start checking off that bucket list!
Perhaps that means going back to school, or traveling, or volunteering for something you are passionate about. It could even mean picking up a new hobby like scrapbooking. Pro tip: some hobbies can be monetized in order to bring in a little post retirement cash.
Loneliness is something people struggle with even outside of retirement. You may find those feelings are magnetized especially if your main source of connectedness was through work. According to Erica Slone, lifestyle editor of Well+Good, you must first understand the three types of loneliness before you can learn to combat them.
- Intimate loneliness– this occurs when you don’t have a deep relationship with someone you can turn to in times of need.
Think back to a time you did have a connection to someone like this. What made you lose touch? Is that relationship repairable? Perhaps you can reach out with a fond memory or a funny joke as a way to get the conversation flowing again.
- Relational loneliness– the perceived or real absence of a broader friendship network.
Remember just because you retired doesn’t mean your relationships have to end. Reach out and make a plan to meet with former coworkers. You may find you have mutual interests other than work. See a movie together or go for tea. You could even join the same book club. Find ways to keep that connection alive.
- Collective loneliness– beyond your inner circle is a wider community of people you may feel disconnected to. This could be your neighbor or maybe a friend you haven’t seen since you graduated.
Check out your local libraries club listings. It’s a great way to get connected with the people in your community. You can also check in on acquaintances. Ask them how they’re doing. You could even catch up over lunch.
Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Remember this isn’t a race to complete every item you’ve got on your list in record time. There are no deadlines or expectations. This is a time to slow down and really take in the world around you. You’ll be able to appreciate your new experiences that much more. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Not every single day needs to be adventure-packed. It’s completely fine to sleep in and have lounge days. You worked hard for this time to relax, and cherish it.