Let’s confront it head-on; retirement is a major life transformation, like going off to university, getting a partner for the first time, or going back to living without children in your home. Retirement may take a little time to get used to; it took me eight years. Create a plan, but don't worry if the plan will not be as you imagined. Based on my life experience and my experience in talking to others here are some suggestions for a steady transformation and a glorious retirement:
· Required duties kill spirit notwithstanding age. Don’t agonize about what you believe you should be doing or what others think you should be doing when you retire. This is about you. It’s your time to do what you want.
· Generate a daily plan. It may sound like a fabulous scheme to throw away your alarm clock and avoid any new responsibilities. A sudden lack of structure is and can be unsettling for many of us. I stopped getting up at 6:30 over the first year of my retirement and now I get up closer to 8:30 but that was after 13 years of retirement. We all need a reason to get up in the morning, so I recommend that you plan to be up by a certain time and have some activities scheduled for specific days each week.
· Rekindle old friendships. If you can try and develop new friends hopefully in different age groups. I love to read and since I retired I have read hundreds of new books, and I love to putter around my house, I find it comfortable. At the same time, I volunteer, go out with my friends on a weekly basis because I know these activities dare more beneficial to my mental health. It is not easy making new friends when you retire, but one of the easiest ways to make new friends is through new activities such as sports, seminars, cooking classes, travel, hiking clubs, poker night, book clubs, yoga, wine tasting, etc.
· Get professional help. It took me eight or so years to get used to retirement because I retired without a plan. I was, however, very lucky because I had friends I could talk to about goals and what to do with retirement. Some people may need professional help with this if so, I recommend that you get the help before retirement not after. The folks who sit down and discuss/plan their post-retirement goals are the ones who typically have a more satisfied, fulfilling retirement. This can especially be beneficial for married couples and can/should be done before you retire to get on the same page about expectations and concerns. Sometimes people who have retired without a plan may experience some of the following signs and symptoms, If you do experience some of these on a daily basis or for more than two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
· Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
· Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
· Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
· Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
· Decreased energy or fatigue
· Moving or talking more slowly
· Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
· Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
· Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
· Appetite and/or weight changes
· Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
· Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment.
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. That is why it is important to not self diagnose and talk to your doctor.
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