There’s an emotional process that most people go through when adjusting to retirement. At first, there’s a feeling of freedom. It’s like you’re on a vacation that’s going to last forever.
That sense of novelty wears off, however, and you will settle into a slower lifestyle. There might be a stage that involves a lot of, “Oh, no! What did I do?” thoughts, followed by anxiety and boredom. You might even feel guilty for not enjoying retirement as much as you think you should.
Suppressing your emotions or denying your feelings can lead to unhealthy coping strategies like relying on alcohol or food. Allow yourself to experience a wide range of emotions, whatever those emotions may be. Look for healthy ways to deal with those feelings. You might find walking, reading, writing, talking to others, or yoga helps you deal with your emotions.
If you thrive with a schedule, you might establish a retirement routine that helps you plan your days. Experiment with various activities and time slots to see how it makes you feel.
Pencil in time for lingering over the newspaper and enjoying a cup of coffee, but add in regular time for exercise, social activities, volunteer opportunities, and family meals. While your days don’t need to be rigid, having a set wake-up time and routine can help you feel more normal now that you aren’t going to work.
And accomplishing new things can give you a sense of achievement.
Think about what milestones you might want to meet in the first month, six months, or one year that you’ve been retired and write them down. Do you want to lose 10 pounds? Travel to Europe? (Yes, goals can be fun, too!) Finish five books that you’ve been putting off. The sky’s the limit.
After 30 years of meeting friends through work and seeing them every day, it might not be as easy to keep up with those you hold dear.
This can play into the restructuring of your daily routine—ask one friend to meet you for lunch every Monday, another friend to go walking through the neighborhood with you on Wednesdays and a third pal to grab a coffee on Friday afternoons.
If you and your spouse are friends with other couples, aim to invite them over for dinner or board games at least once a month. If you don’t feel like you have enough people to keep you socially active, take advantage of the extra time in your life to make new friends.
Check out any programs offered at your church or a local community center, or find a group of like-minded individuals who share an affection for your favorite hobby, whether it’s golf, crafts or cooking. Meetup groups are also available for many hobbies and activities.