Your retirement years are a chance to relax, rejuvenate and focus on the people and activities that matter most to you. But retiring is also one of the most significant life changes you’ll ever make, and adjusting to life after work can be hard. Here are some tips for avoiding the retirement blues and enjoying a stress-free retirement.
Most of us eagerly look forward to the day when we can say goodbye to the stresses and strains of working life and spend more time focusing on the people and activities that matter in our lives. But unfortunately, the reality of retirement doesn’t always live up to expectations.
All too often, we see new retirees become affected by boredom, loneliness and a lack of purpose, which may affect their appetite for life and their overall wellbeing. Even worse, it can lead to depression and other health problems, both psychological and physical.
But it’s not all bad news. By understanding and preparing for the life change that comes with retirement, you can avoid the blues and make retirement a time of relaxation and enjoyment.
1. Get involved
Stopping work doesn’t mean you have to stop making a positive contribution to society. One of the pleasures of retirement is having the time to get involved in and supporting the causes you believe in. Volunteering for a charity or community organisation can be hugely rewarding and a great opportunity to make use of the knowledge and skills you’ve learned during your years in the workforce.
And volunteering can be good for you too. A study from Carnegie Mellon University has shown that volunteering for around four hours a week can dramatically lower blood pressure in older people.
2. Focus on your health
We all know regular exercise and mental stimulation are critical to staying healthy. Something as simple as a daily walk, a regular swim or the morning crossword can go a long way towards keeping you in good shape. Sticking to a healthy diet with plenty of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables is also highly recommended. And of course, regular medical check-ups are essential.
Your mental and physical health will also benefit if you commit time each week to hobbies you love, or learning a new skill. Activities that give you the opportunity to socialise with like-minded seniors bring an extra psychological boost — whether it’s a regular dance class, your local chess club, social tennis or a morning ride with friends.
3. Stay on top of your finances
Unfortunately, stopping work doesn’t necessarily mean you will stop worrying about money. Often the reverse can be true. Research shows that your level of financial literacy and the clarity of your financial goals can have a significant impact on your wellbeing after retirement. So even if you have a financial plan in place, it’s worth reviewing it regularly to make sure your finances stay on track.
You also need to think realistically about the probable length of your retirement, making sure you have enough money to stay comfortable. With health care improving and Australians staying healthy and active for longer, it’s very likely that the average Australian will be spending at least 20 years in retirement. So it’s important to be financially prepared.
Talking to a financial planner can be a great way to ensure your finances are in good shape so you can confidently look forward to retirement.
To find out more, contact us today.
 C Bergland; ‘Volunteering Protects against Heart Disease’; Psychology Today; 2013.
 ‘Achieving Well-being in Retirement: Recommendations from 20 Years’ Research’; SIOP White Paper Series; Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc; 2012.