Newly retired people often feel a mixture of emotions after finishing their last day at work: the excitement for the future, the bittersweet feeling of leaving co-workers behind, the happiness at finally getting more time to spend with loved ones. And also, for many retirees, the overwhelming sense of relief. Relief because you’re finally done with the 9-5, your future is relatively stable, and you now have all the time in the world to do what you want, when you want.
However, suddenly having nine to ten hours of your day free from work obligations can be a big adjustment. For decades, you’ve had most of your day occupied by work, and now, you have all of that time freed up for whatever you want to do. But for most people, the things of ‘whatever you want to do’ can run out pretty fast. And the next thing you know, boredom starts to set in.
Fortunately, there is an endless list of things you can do to fight boredom in retirement, especially during the first few weeks or months. Here are some of the best ones:
It’s no secret that retirees are prone to extreme loneliness and depression, mostly because of isolation from loved ones and the feeling of being cut off from society. If you are in an assisted living facility, you may be less prone to this problem since you have lots of other people to interact with daily. But if you have chosen to age at home on your own, you may have an increased risk of developing depression.
Whether you are in a retirement community or at home, it is extremely important to socialize to combat isolation, and thus, mental health problems. Even if you are innately an introvert, it won’t hurt to say hi to your neighbors once in a while or hop on a video call with your old friends. You can even join senior groups in your community to socialize with other retirees and fill in your time with positive activities.
Moreover, it’s always a good idea to visit loved ones while you are still able to since they may have lots on their plate and you don’t, it is probably easier for everyone if you are the one who travels for a visit.
- Find a way to supplement your income
This may seem counterintuitive to enjoying your new life in retirement, but it won’t hurt to find a new income source to further stabilize your finances. Besides that, using your time to do something that will generate money will give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose, which are much-needed for any retiree.
For instance, you can start monetizing your hobbies, be it painting, knitting, gardening, or baking. On the other hand, you can also start freelancing and offer your skills to clients (you’re never too old to freelance!); skills such as writing, graphic design, voice acting, and more.
- Build a routine
Before retirement, you had a routine that kept you grounded: wake up, shower, get dressed, breakfast, go to work. Then after work, you change, eat dinner, do housework, watch TV, go to sleep, and then wake up in the morning to do it all over again. Many of us thrive off a structured schedule, and when it’s suddenly gone in retirement, we can feel a little off-kilter.
That said, building a routine can help you feel a sense of normalcy even when you’re not working anymore. Start by getting up and going to bed at around the same time. Then, create a daily schedule that works best for your activities (exercise, meals, housework, socializing, hobbies, etc.). Nothing has to be set in stone. Remember, you control your time now, and if you want to change up your schedule, you can definitely do so.
- Do what makes you happy
Not the things that you feel like you have to do. Other people may say that you’re wasting your retirement if you don’t travel, get a pet, do volunteer work, learn a new hobby, finish a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle, and so on. But if you feel like something is not worth your time and won’t make you feel good, then don’t do it. Your retirement is only yours to make, don’t feel pressured to do a million and one things just because other retirees are finding their own happiness from them.
After the honeymoon phase of retirement, boredom starts to set in pretty quickly, and you might ask yourself “what do I do now?”. While it’s perfectly okay to do nothing in retirement, these strategies can help you stave off boredom and, at the same time, keep your mind and body healthy.