Have ever talked to someone who when speaking on the subject of retirement acts like it is a death sentence? For many the idea of not working and stepping down into the life of retirement with fewer daily duties is frightening and something to dread. That is why a big part of retirement planning involves getting emotionally ready for retirement so there isn’t a huge shock when all of a sudden you are a man or woman of leisure.
There is a term from the world of scuba diving that refers to a medical problem that happens when a diver returns to the surface to fast and the shift from high pressure to lower pressure of the world above the water is too fast. It’s called “the bends” and it’s a serious medical moment. Well, we don’t want to get “the bends” when we leave the high pressure world of work and achievement for the low pressure world of retirement and a life of ease.
So to avoid retirement shock, you should start well ahead of you retirement party getting ready for that lifestyle. The worst thing you can do is wake up on the first day of your retired life with nothing to do and that feeling of emptiness and loneliness because you miss your old life and have no plans for how to fill the hours and days that lay ahead in your life as a retired person.
One way to avoid retirement shock is to do a bit of daydreaming about all the things you want to do once you are retired. Many of us put off creative interests and adventures we might have pursued except as a member of the working world, a parent an active participant in school, church and civic groups, there is just no time for that before retirement. But now that you have laid down so many of those responsibilities, give yourself permission to throw yourself into a creative hobby to let that side of you out to grow and mature.
Another great coping mechanism so the shock of moving into retirement isn’t so severe is to continue to work at a reduced pace. If your employer values your decades of experience and devotion to duty, they may put you on in a part time capacity to come in and help the young people learn the ropes and learn the lay of the land of the business world. You know that landscape well so you can be of real value to make that transition a success.
Retirement is also a time when you can travel and spend more time with family and friends. If you always wished you could be available to baby-sit the grandchildren, now is the time. Your kids not only will love having free child care while they go about dealing with their busy lives but you will enjoy getting to know your grandkids and maybe being a kid with them for an afternoon as well.
Volunteering is another great way to fill all of that extra time you now have on your hands. By keeping busy helping worthy causes, you keep your self esteem because you are making a real difference in the lives of others and for your community. You can meet so many wonderful people while volunteering and the social side of it keeps you young and overcomes loneliness which is a big problem when you first enter your retirement years.
By laying out plans to enjoy a hobby, continue to work part time or volunteer when retirement starts, you can get rid of that sense of dread that you may have about your upcoming retirement. Instead start to get excited about this new phase of life and the new life that lies ahead of you in retirement.