The events that follow retirement can lead to a surge of emotions for the retiree. Some worry if they will ever feel financially secure again, while others dread missing their workplace and colleagues.
It's critical to consider your emotional and mental wellbeing at this sensitive stage in your life, so you're able to adjust to this new and big change in your life easily. When you start valuing your emotional welfare, it becomes easier to find other productive ways to utilize your skill set and stay active.
How can one make the transition into retirement less painful and distressing?
1. Devote Your Time to Strengthening Relationships
Anyone who has retired or is nearing retirement knows the importance of investing in personal relationships during such an overwhelming phase in their life. Your first instinct is to seek the support of your family members and closest friends as the warmth and love that radiates through these relationships is what fuels happy emotions.
People who have worked their entire lives, especially those who've been stationed away from home, can finally spend quality time with their loved ones. You may have missed out on some major events within your family, but now you can catch up and talk to the most important people in your life.
It's a known fact that your career demands a large portion of your time and energy, which leaves less room for friends and loved ones. When you go through this major shift in your life, it's important to focus on open communication and honest discussions with your spouse and family members to navigate how to operate the household.
2. Adjusting To New Roles
It's natural to feel a sense of disequilibrium initially following retirement. It takes some time to understand your role in the house. Maybe you can help with chores; maybe you can take some time off to simply relax and unplug. You can communicate your wishes to your partner so that you're on the same page.
Sometimes partners retire around the same time, and it's important that you talk about your roles and responsibilities post-retirement when starting this new chapter. When you openly communicate and talk things through with your spouse, it becomes easier to make time for each other while also taking some space for your own activities.
It takes time to adjust to such a major change in your life but what matters is that you understand and appreciate each other through this. You will need each other more than ever, especially when you experience a flood of emotions. While some people have a smooth transition into retirement, others aren't so lucky.
Author, Robert Delamontagne, Ph.D. shared that more often than not, retirees show signs of depression, anxiety, and distress in the book The Retiring Mind: How to Make the Psychological Transition to Retirement.
Delamontagne addressed that retirees go through a rollercoaster of emotions on retirement and often don't say a word about it. The cultural norm and expectations regarding retirement are that you're leading a good life, but usually, that isn't the case. The psychological adjustments associated with this phase should be addressed and normalized to help people cope better with such a major shift in their lives.
3. Create Networks Outside Your Office Circle
A new beginning awaits for those who are nearing the end of their career paths. Once you've reached the retirement phase, keep a lookout for those kinds of activities that will help you access your inner self. A good example of such an activity is volunteer work.
Volunteering is an opportunity for individuals to invest their time for a great cause, to build their people skills, and boost their mental wellbeing. A lot of families partake in volunteer work together as a way to strengthen their bonding and help others in need. Retirees suffering from separation anxiety can channel their efforts into volunteering to grow their social circle and develop a reliable support system. They might also stumble upon others who are going through similar experiences.
It's good to keep reminding yourself to keep moving forward and look for more opportunities to grow. There are a lot of things you can learn outside of an office, just by networking or joining support groups. Don't limit yourself to the four walls of a house; instead, make time to pursue things that boost your cognitive health.
4. Find New Outlets
It's essential for retirees to leverage their skills to chase other professional interests that can benefit themselves and others. Whether you're a retiring executive or a lower-level manager, if you're proficient in your field, you can act as a consultant for small-scale businesses. You may even start your own consulting firm to assist emerging businesses and entrepreneurs in kick-starting their careers.
A family friend that wishes to start, say, a carpet cleaning business, can approach you with multiple queries, and you can offer your know-how and connections to give them a boost. Similarly, investing in new outlets is a healthy and productive way to manage your wellbeing and time. Contributing as an educator or a mentor will help you utilize your creative skillset in an effective way.
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These options might sound daunting, but they're a great way to provide valuable resources to people who want tips on navigating the business world. When you channel your time and energy into something you're passionate about, it prevents you from feeling aimless and bored.
Ultimately, transitioning into retirement isn't an easy ordeal. Some people take up therapy to cope with anxiety and depression, while others rely on their family to help them get through this life-changing episode. Adjusting to a new mode of living takes time and patience, but with a bit of planning and the support of your loved ones, it is endurable. Remind yourself that it's not just about financial planning, but also your psychological welfare as well. By familiarizing yourself with the emotional challenges, you can prepare yourself for retirement when the day arrives.
Author Bio: Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him the edge to write on many topics. He occasionally writes blog articles for Dynamologic Solutions.