When most of us think about retirement, we think about how much money we have saved and invested over the years. Will we have enough income to live comfortably when we retire? We spend most of our lives saving as much extra money as we can, and being reminded by our banks and retirement agencies that we need to stay on track.
One thing that we do not seem to prepare for when retirement approaches, are the emotional and psychological aspects of retiring. You have spent your entire life working and having a career, to suddenly be out of that space can sometimes be a shock to your system and identity.
You were once busy all day long, and now you find yourself with endless amounts of time on your hands. People start to realize their lifetime goal of a happy retirement, has now become a reality filled with disappointment, loneliness, and often sadness.
This doesn’t happen to everyone of course, but for those who do experience this can feel the need to keep it quiet. They feel like they have done something wrong to feel disappointment instead of happiness in retirement. Everyone keeps telling them how wonderful it must be, when they are thinking how terrible it has been.
So how do you prepare for retirement emotionally and psychologically? According to the American Psychological Association and the article by By Jamie Chamberlin, there are a few things you can do to ease into this new lifestyle.
Finding part time work, or self employment is always a great idea. Having some sort of schedule, or side work can make someone feel like they are still participating in the work force but at a slower pace.
Taking up a hobby in retirement can be particularly rewarding, and can fill some time in your schedule. Have you always wanted to take up painting? Yoga? Cooking? Take a few classes, and see where it takes you!
Have you had a trip in mind that you always wanted to take but never had the chance? Start traveling.
The important thing is that as you prepare for retirement or are settling into retirement, you are aware that emotionally it might take some time to get used to. This is normal. It is okay to feel like you miss your “old life”. It is okay to feel angry, disappointed, and that you have nothing left. Retirement is emotionally like what your life was like before retirement, it is what you make of it. It is your mindset and your outlook on it. And that can always be changed!