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The Latest Retirement Trend: Emotional Planning for Retirement

A couple happily standing and holding hands

While retirement is something we work towards, when the time comes to call it quits, it can stir up a range of emotions. However, when you consider we spend almost a third (or more) of our adult lives working, a period of adjustment is only natural. That’s why learning how to deal with the emotions of retirement is so important.

Enjoying Life After Retirement

After you retire, you get to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. Travel, indulge in hobbies and visit relatives. You might have feelings of excitement, relief and freedom from letting go of the stress and responsibilities of your career. Although after a while, it’s not unusual to experience a letdown and have feelings of loneliness, boredom, uselessness, disillusionment and even depression.

The reality is that no matter how much you’ve been looking forward to it, retirement is a major life change. Luckily, there are steps you can take to cope with the common challenges of retirement.

How to Prepare for Retirement Emotionally

As you prepare for this new chapter in life, the following suggestions can help you ease the transition, reduce the retirement emotions of stress and anxiety, and allow you to find new meaning and purpose in your life.

  • Embrace change: While it’s an inevitable and constant part of life, coping with change is rarely easy, so it’s normal to feel a range of mixed, or even conflicting emotions. By accepting the things you can’t change, you’ll be able to refocus your energy on the things you can control.
  • Enjoy the journey: Allow yourself time to figure everything out and know you can always change direction. Also try to focus on what you’re gaining, rather than the things you’re losing.
  • Acknowledge your emotions: There’s no right way to respond to a major life change. Whether you feel angry, sad, anxious, grief, or a mix of emotions, by acknowledging and accepting what you’re feeling, you’ll find that even the most intense or unpleasant emotions will soon pass. As a way to acknowledge how you’re feeling, talk to a close friend about it or record your feelings in a journal.
  • Redefine your identity: Many of us define ourselves by what we do for a living. After retirement, you can find new ways of defining yourself through non-work-related activities and relationships.
  • Set goals: Having goals can energize you and provide a sense of purpose. Set goals that challenge and excite you while also keeping you moving forward in life.
  • Strengthen your social circle: For many of us, our social ties are closely linked to our jobs. Make a point to stay in touch with former coworkers and explore opportunities to broaden your social network.
  • Volunteer: Donating your time and effort to a cause that’s important to you can add meaning and a sense of accomplishment to your life. It can also help expand your social network and is a great opportunity to pass on some of the skills you’ve learned.
  • Pursue hobbies and interests: Retirement is a good time to pick up old interests or nurture new ones. Whether you enjoy traveling, being in nature, sports, or the arts try enrolling in a club, joining a team, or taking a class.
  • Learn something new: Adult education classes are a great way to expand your mind, develop new interests and set fresh goals for yourself.
  • Get a pet: Dogs and cats can provide companionship, help boost your mood, ease stress, depression and anxiety, and improve your heart health.
  • Prioritize quality sleep: A lack of sleep can add to your feelings of stress and anxiety, so it’s important to address any sleep issues to ensure you’re getting a good night’s rest.
  • Structure your days: Set up a loose daily schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day and schedule times for exercising and socializing with friends.

Age Well Study finds Life Plan Community Residents are Happier

Designed in collaboration with Northwestern University, the Age Well Study is a five-year longitudinal study that evaluated the impact of living in a Life Plan Community on residents’ cognitive, physical and psychosocial health, and well-being. Year three of the study specifically looked at the factors associated with residents’ emotional wellness, including their happiness and life satisfaction. Some of what they found include:

  • On a scale of one to seven, even the lowest scoring Life Plan Community residents rate happiness and life satisfaction at a 4.6 — with half of them giving it a 6+.
  • Studies show that more physical activity and a healthier diet were associated with greater happiness. Life Plan Communities have wellness programs featuring everything from fitness classes to lifelong learning opportunities. They also have a culinary team made up of dietitian and chefs who create healthy, delicious meals.
  • Research shows that social interactions are vital for life satisfaction in those in the 55+ age group. Life Plan Communities have monthly social calendars that provide lots of opportunities to socialize and make new friends.

Make Sure Your Retirement Plan Includes More Freedom

At Freedom Plaza, you’ll find everything you need to adjust to this new period of your life. To schedule a personal visit, call us at 813-280-5009, use our Community Assistant chat feature or contact us here.