While retirement might sound like absolute bliss for some, in actual fact, many of us will experience some sort of retirement anxiety leading up to the big event.
The financial stress as well as psychological transition of no longer having to be somewhere, such as work, at a specific day and time of the week can be a lot to process. For others, the thought of boredom, knowing how to fill their days and the feeling of lack of purpose is incredibly daunting.
The ideal scenario for retirement is retiring when you have a set plan in place, and also when you feel emotionally and mentally prepared to. Unfortunately, for many senior Australians, this best-case scenario for retirement is not always possible.
As such, we have put together some helpful suggestions to focus on taking care of yourself during your initial transition to retirement life and easing your retirement anxiety.
1. Remember it is a big change
Retirement is a new life phase. Just as you transitioned through other big life changes, such as finishing school, career shift or having children, this is an important milestone and will feel like a significant change.
It is important to remember that you are able to feel all kinds of different emotions and feelings about this. Make sure you allow yourself to experience these emotions whatever they might end up being – grief, excitement, anxiety, confusion, relief.
2. Set small goals
Better Health Victoria says the average person will spend approximately 18 years in retirement. That’s a lot of time to fill if you don’t have any sort of plan or goals set for yourself. Having a purpose is really important for mental wellbeing, as it gives us structure and keeps our minds and bodies occupied. These are important elements for helping to ease feelings of anxiousness and anxiety.
Set aside some time to start thinking about the things you would like to do or achieve in the short term. It is great if you can start with small daily, weekly or monthly goals for yourself. Once you’ve done this you can start thinking of longer-term goals and plans.
Below are some leading questions you might like to ask yourself to get started:
- Are there any new hobbies I would like to try?
- Are there any old hobbies I never used to have time for that I could start doing again?
- Which parts of a structured day and life did I enjoy?
- Is there anything I’ve been putting off that I need to get done?
- Do I need to have any health checks scheduled?
- Are there any letters I need to write?
- Are there any friends or family I would like to catch up with?
- Do I want to go on any trips?
By setting small goals, you can focus on the things that are important to you and help you to adjust to your new retirement lifestyle.
3. Keep in touch
Loneliness and social isolation doesn’t just affect a person’s mental health, it can significantly and detrimentally impact their physical health too. Keeping in regular contact with others is vital when you retire, especially if you have been used to regular social interactions at work. Your friends and family will love that you have more time to spend and catch up with them, but they may not have the free time that you can now enjoy.
Consider joining a walking group or hobby/ interest group to grow your social circle and meet like-minded individuals.
At Seasons, our residents are fortunate enough to experience a range of vibrant social activities in our weekly calendars. From shopping trips to beach days to lunches out! At Seasons, there is always something to do and someone to talk to around our communities. If you are considering the idea of seniors living, but aren’t sure if it is right for you – you can now trial community living, with our try before you buy options and sample our amenities, apartments and lifestyle.
4. Seek support if you need it
If you still find you are struggling to adjust to retirement, particularly if your retirement anxiety isn’t easing, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help or support.