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Mentally Adjust to Life Without Work Before Retiring

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 25 Oct 2010 | comments*Discuss
Retirement Positive Aspects Fears Work

For most people, work does bring a structure and order to their lives. For those who are approaching retirement, and finding the prospect daunting, it may be beneficial to finds way to mentally adjust to life without work.

The Positive Aspects of Work

Although a salary may seem like the most positive aspect of a job there are a great number of other benefits. For a great many people work is how they define themselves, it gives them a sense of identity. Living without work may seem similar to losing a part of ones self. Identity isn’t the only thing that work brings to a person’s life. Work colleagues and socialising, work achievements and a purpose to every day are all part and parcel of working life. Retirement can seem like an end to all of these positive work aspects and for some people a mental adjustment will be required.

Retirement Doesn’t Have to Mean an End to Work

Retirement can be hard for those who do define themselves through work. But retirement does not have to mean giving up work completely. Many retirees work part-time or undertake voluntary work. Any type of work during retirement will give a sense of structure and purpose. It is quite legal for those who are reaching retirement age to request to continue working. This could be on a part time, flexible or job sharing basis.

Look for Ways to Structure Days during Retirement

If retirement is approaching and continuing to work is not an option then looking for ways to add structure to days will be beneficial. This can be achieved by researching certain interests that would be enjoyable. Interests can include adult education classes to learn new skills, fitness classes and sports activities. It may be the case that retirees have work skills that can be passed onto others. This can be undertaken through private tutoring or even teaching a few classes at colleges.

Keep In Contact With Work Friends during Retirement

Work colleagues are a huge part of working life but losing this network of friends due to retirement is not compulsory. Regular lunch or dinner dates and nights out with work friends will help to ease the transition into retirement. It only takes a phone call, email or text to arrange social evenings with previous work colleagues. Stay in touch by joining social networking sites and make a habit of keeping in contact. Workplace friendships do take just as much maintenance as friendships outside of the employment arena.

Take Some Time to Adjust to Retirement

Adjusting to retirement will not be an overnight process. As with all major changes in life there will be a period of adjustment. Retirees will deal with this in different ways but one of the most popular is to take a well earned holiday. Taking a retirement holiday will help to de-stress, consider the future and the options available. This holiday can be thought of as the beginning to a new life chapter. Come back from holiday relaxed and refreshed ready to face retirement head on.

Focus on the Positives of Retirement not the Negatives

Retirement can be a scary prospect for a lot of people but dwelling on the negatives will not ease fears. Look at the positive aspects of retirement, which can include:

  • More leisure time to enjoy with family and friends
  • Retirees are their own bosses and no longer answer to anyone else
  • A chance to learn new skills through free or low cost adult education classes
  • Extended holidays can be taken during off season periods when prices are low
  • More time to reconnect with partners or spouses
  • The ability to choose jobs that will be enjoyable and with flexible hours
  • More time can be spent on recreational pursuits such as sports activities
  • The chance to feel satisfied in new jobs such as volunteering or passing on skills through teaching
The retirement transition will be easier with a positive attitude that focuses on what is to be gained, not what has been lost. Retirement is something that most people will have to face but it does not need to be a daunting prospect. Mentally adjusting to retirement should begin as retirement approaches to prepare for a new life ahead.

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