You worked hard for it.
You earned it.
You finally reached your retirement.
There’s all this free time in your life now that you haven’t had for decades, and you don’t know where to begin or what to do in retirement.
Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. It can be difficult for people to make the transition from such a structured and scheduled life pre-retirement to the more open and flexible post-retirement lifestyle.
So how can you make that transition smoothly?
There are plenty of things to do in retirement, and it’s all a matter of preference. This article will try to answer a few questions that you may have about how to make the most of your time and what to do after retirement has begun.
What Should I do in My Retirement Years?
This question is probably the first that you have. It’s vague but important.
Retirement is a major life-changing experience, and we often aren’t prepared for the new lifestyle once it finally arrives. Some people may struggle to gain a newfound sense of purpose after they have lost the one that has driven them for decades.
So what is there to do?
Decide What You Want Out of Your Retirement Years
Think about what it is that you wish to gain from your retirement. Think about how you would like to spend your time, and what you want your days to look like.
Do you want the same structure that you had before you retired or do you want your days to be more open and flexible, where you plan each day as they come?
Some people prefer to spend their retirement relaxing, lounging, and vacationing; others prefer to keep busy with hobbies, work, or volunteering. Either way is fine, but it is important to know for yourself what you want so that you can work on what comes next.
Create Realistic Goals for Your Retirement
Now that you know whether or not you want to keep busy or to not be busy at all, you can start making goals for your retirement. It’s very important to work out what to do when you retire.
You may be wondering, “Why is it important to set goals when I’m retired?”
The answer is that having a set of realistic short-term and long-term goals can provide a new sense of clarity and purpose to your life, whether that purpose is related to work or leisure. Depression and anxiety, unfortunately, are not uncommon among retirees, and that is often due to a lack of purpose and direction after retirement.
Setting achievable goals for your retirement can help you to avoid the anxiety and depression that retirees develop during this stage of life. So can doing things that you enjoy, which brings us to the next question you may have…
How Can I Have Fun After Retirement?
Perhaps before you retired, the fun activities that you had time to partake in each week were relegated to the weekend or maybe one or two evenings during the week. Now that you have plenty of time to pursue activities and interests, it’s time to come up with some ideas for those retirement activities that interest you.
Pick Up a Hobby
Have you always wanted to learn a new language or how to play a new instrument? Do you like crafts? Games?
Having a hobby is a great way to have fun both before and after you retire, and—depending on the hobby—it can even help to improve your health.
Playing a musical instrument has been shown to help in improving brain function and mental alertness, something extremely important for seniors in retirement who are at risk for mental decline. Your hobby doesn’t have to be related to music to be healthy, though.
Is cooking a hobby of yours? You could invite your friends to take part in healthy-cooking challenges where you gather weekly for a meal in which each of you brings a healthy homemade dish to the meeting. (Don’t forget the importance of good nutrition now that you’re retired!)
If you don’t have a hobby, use this newfound abundance of free time to try new things. You’ll find that there are plenty of things to do when you retire and you’ll have a lot of fun trying these new things, too!
Join a Community
Hobbies are a great tool for bringing people with similar interests together and can be a great way to make friends and avoid isolation during your retirement. Being a member of a community in which you have bonds with others is crucial to avoiding feelings of depression and anxiety that can creep in if you remain isolated.
These communities can also be a lot of fun. There are so many different groups that you’ll find out there whose activities are geared towards retirees. There are dance groups, craft groups, volunteers, walking groups, bowling leagues, and other groups all trying to bring retirees together.
With the internet, it is easier than ever to find groups of other retirees who gather for fun activities. Meetup.com is a website that allows people to connect with others by joining local groups of people who meet for various activities, or by creating their own group if a local group doesn’t exist.
It’s an excellent way to meet new people and do interesting things in the process!
I know what you’re thinking: “Exercise can’t be fun!”
No? Think again!
Exercise is important for retirees, and it can be fun as well. There are so many different ways to exercise, and it doesn’t just have to be via running on a treadmill or lifting weights.
There are often dance classes like Zumba and jazzercise geared towards seniors that are offered at gyms or your local YMCA. A brisk 30-minute walk also does the trick, and joining a walking group can be a great way to meet new people while you get exercise and start a hobby all at the same time.
See? It’s not difficult to have fun once you’re retired; you just have to know where to find it.
How Can I Make Money After Retirement?
It’s not uncommon for retirees to look for things to do after retirement to supplement their income. Sometimes, living on a fixed income simply doesn’t provide the number of funds needed to be able to do certain things, like going on a vacation or treating yourself with something nice.
There are lots of ways to make a supplemental income, and there are plenty of places that are willing to hire retirees. You may think that your options are limited due to having to compete with younger job applicants, but that’s not quite true.
Here are just a few options that can help you to make money after retirement:
There are an endless amount of jobs that can be found and completed entirely online. These can be full-time jobs with companies looking for customer service representatives or even English teachers or tutors of other subjects.
If you are looking to use the professional skills and knowledge you have gained from a long career, you may be able to find some consistent freelance work through job boards such as FlexJobs. If you are a skilled writer, freelance writing is always an option as well; you can be your own boss and leverage your professional experience to write for companies, or start your own blog and write for yourself.
Find a Local “Side Hustle”
There are many options these days for local jobs in which you are in complete control of the hours in which you work. These jobs are often done by people seeking to supplement their income and are perfect for retirees for that exact reason.
Driving for Uber or Lyft will allow you to work when you want for as long as you want as a rideshare driver, picking people up and taking them to their destinations. You have the option of setting your hours whenever you want and can decide which passengers you will pick up and which to pass on via the phone app that you will use.
Uber Eats and DoorDash are food delivery services that allow their delivery drivers to determine which orders they will pick up and deliver, and typically have a guaranteed amount that they will pay the driver per order. So, the good news is that these are not delivery jobs that require tips to survive.
There are so many things to do after retirement, and life doesn’t have to slow down if you don’t want it to. Of course, it certainly can if that’s how you want it.
Remember: think about how you want to live your retirement, set achievable goals, have fun, and make a little extra money. Now that you’ve seen some of these ideas, do you feel that you have a better idea of how to make the most of your retirement?