Retirement - What does a Change in Routine and Time on Your Hands Mean to Your Health and Well-Being?

Dreaming of Retirement? 

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For many of you who are still working, you might be dreaming of the day you retire.

Starting your day as you please without deadlines and demands, no alarm to wake you and then spending a leisurely day of nothingness sounds perfect.  And whilst sleeping late and doing nothing might work for a little while, it’s appeal could be very short-lived. 

After all, we humans crave purpose and without it you can feel anxious and bored.

Let’s talk about the emotional impact of retirement. 

You might be full of excitement, feeling liberated or fearful or anxious.  There is a broad range of feelings and emotions so it’s important to work through these and find a way to release and not suppress them. 

At first, you might feel that at long last you are free, and you’ve escaped the 9 to 5 and that you are heading off on holidays. Who doesn’t love the excitement of holidays?  You think that the holiday feeling will go on forever and yet the novelty will wear off. 

Retirement beach

Think about being on holiday for a moment, you slow down and the routine is thrown out the window. It’s time to be aware of the slower lifestyle as this might very well impact your health and well-being.

Look for healthy ways to reflect and deal with your feelings and emotions.

You might find walking, reading, writing/journalling, talking to others or even yoga and meditation are something that have been on your list of things to do for a while, so now is the time.  Your choices are endless.  But do allow yourself this time to reflect on the emotional impact of retirement.

Give yourself permission to be flexible and experiment.  I am not talking about being able to touch your toes, although I will encourage you to keep doing that, I am talking about using your retirement as a time to experiment and be flexible in your decisions.

You might decide to plan an overseas trip or travel throughout our beautiful country, take up painting classes, read each day and the lists goes on.  The joy of retirement is that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to experiment and you don’t have to do it all today.  It’s up to you to design the type of day—and kind of life—that you want to live. This is about you, not your significant other, but you - your dreams and how you want to live your life. 

Retirement holidays

Think about those activities that you’ve always wanted to do, that might feel a little out of your comfort zone, you never know what you’ll discover.  I’ve had clients heading out on a jetski for the first time, hiking through Kokoda and taking up rock-climbing, the activities are endless. Remember this is about you and you’ve got the time to figure it out, so there is no need to rush, simply start writing things down.

You’ve had years of routine and then suddenly that routine is gone.  Once the dust settles… the structure that kept your daily life, health and well-being in check is no longer there supporting you, so it’s your opportunity to have more time to spend on your health and well-being – preparing healthy meals, exercising and stressing less.  This is when you get to design your new routine, the one that works for your and how you want to live life now and in the future.

Retirement routine

In the past, your day might have gone something like this - alarm goes off, shower, breakfast, pack a lunch, head out the door and go to work. Then, there was probably a similar routine at the end of your day that began when you walked back into your home.

It’s time to establish a retirement routine that helps you plan your days.

Experiment with various activities and what works for you.  You might want to read the newspaper over a cup of tea, exercise, see friends and volunteer.  Your choices are endless.

The one foundation of health and well-being that underpins all aspects of your life is sleep.  So, make sleep a priority when you are creating your new routine and develop a consistent wake and sleep time. 

As humans, we need strong, supportive social connections. 

Pre-retirement your work colleagues were a constant in your life and that social connection may be lacking.  Maybe your friends have already retired so you are excited about the opportunity to spend more time with them and you’ve got the social connection covered. 

This is the time when isolation can really impact your life. 

After years of meeting friends through work and seeing them every day, it might not be as easy to find new friends. Develop your routine and catch up with a retired friend each week.  Make it a healthy catch up and organise a walk or something that is physically active.  

If you have a significant other in your life and you have friends together you might invite them over for a meal or play cards.  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. 

This is not the time to narrow your friendships but the time to grow them

Retirement friends

 You might find friends at the local church or community centre, at golf, craft, tennis, or bowls.  Or head out for a walk in your local neighbourhood, you never know who you might meet and strike up a new friendship with.

This is the time to expand your horizons.  Remember don’t limit yourself, there are groups on-line too.

You might be that person who has it all figured out on what you’ll do, who you’ll spend time with and, what will get you out of bed in the morning (some call this purpose).

Many of you might define yourself by what you’ve done during your working life, therefore, retirement might send you into an absolute tailspin.  It’s time to think about the opportunities available to you.

Remember you don’t have to stick with what you know and what you’ve done all your life.  You might find a “Passion Project”, something you’ve been interested in for years and start another chapter in your life.  You might not want to work and that’s understandable, but you might enjoy the benefits of volunteering and giving back to others.  One of the greatest benefits of working, whether paid or unpaid, is the increase in your social connections.  Not only that, it’s great for the mind and body and will give you a great sense of achievement. 

You’ve spent your working life, meeting deadlines, finishing projects or going for a promotion.  Guess what?  You still get to set goals during retirement. You just need to look at them differently.  Working on goals can give you a sense of purpose. And accomplishing new things can give you a sense of achievement.

Think about what milestones you might want to meet in a month, 90 days, or a year.

Remember to write them down. 

You are 42% more likely to achieve those goals when you write them down.

You might want to get fitter and healthier. Travel Overseas. Read a book a month. Goals in retirement can be heaps of fun.  

One of my lovely clients had this to share about her recent retirement

Now that I have retired my routines have changed quite a lot, and as well as having more time on my hands I am, by lack of necessity, less active. Consequently, this has forced me to re-activate some of my goals, including fitness. This inspired me to purchase a bike, however, a lack of required cardio fitness resulted in some not-so pleasurable early cycling adventures. So, needless to say, my goal is to attain sufficient fitness, to be able to fully explore our beautiful bikeways.”

I want to leave you with the most important thing about retirement - it can be good or bad for your health and that will depend on the choices you make each day and how active you are.

Book a FREE Coaching Call with Peta Gillian and grab a FREE copy of her Goal Getting and Habit Stacking Guide at the end of your session.  Book your Call here >>>