We look forward to retirement for our whole lives. We prepare for it, save for it, and imagine the trips we’ll take. But studies have shown that retiring can be dangerous to our health- especially for men. In fact retiring significantly increases the risk of both clinical depression and suicide among men, particularly if they don’t have a good support system.
This is due to the fact that many men are have worked hard throughout their lives to support their families, often even at the expense of their relationships with them. And when they’re feeling depressed, men are less likely to ask for help.
Adjusting to retired life can be hard, and the transition period is often something that people don’t talk about. People can feel like they’ve lost their identity, they have too much free time, they’re bored or feel lazy.
Part of the reason is because of dashed expectations. Sometimes people thought they would have more money than they do now, or feel lost without a daily schedule.
Here are some tips for making the transition from employee to retiree easier:
Do what you want
This may seem obvious, but sometimes we get distracted by what we believe we should be doing, losing sight of what we want to do. If there’s one stage of your life when you can do whatever you want it’s retirement, so ask yourself what you want to do with these years. Maybe you want to live in a cabin in the woods, travel the world, or dote on your grandchildren. Taking ownership of your retirement years means you get to choose what you want to do with your life- sometimes for the first time ever. Embrace it.
Create some structure
If you’re used to waking up to an alarm clock every day, turning it off and realising you have nowhere in particular to be may feel luxurious at first, but the lack of structure may become unsettling. Create your own schedule on a calendar with activities, exercise, socialising, errands and housework, and you’ll feel like you have some structure to your day.
Have a support system
Whether it’s meeting up with other newly retired people, or speaking honestly to your family, it’s important to have support in place as you retire. Remember that you don’t need to apologise for how you feel, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed there are plenty of people ready and willing to help you.
Make a list
Make a list of all the things you’ve been wanting to do and haven’t done. You’ll probably have a number of movies you never got to see, tv series which were recommended and you didn’t have time for, or books that you’ve been meaning to read. If you don’t know quite where to start, check out this great article on books to read when you reach retirement or head down to your local library or book store for some recommendations. You might even decide to join a book club for a chance to socialise and read some bestsellers.