7 ways to ensure you are emotionally prepared for retirement

An older woman sits with her head in her hands

After spending much of your working life dreaming of retirement, adjusting to this new stage and finding peace and comfort can be harder than you might have anticipated.

A study reported by FTAdviser found that more than half (58%) of adults over 40 felt anxious about retiring, with 18% saying their anxiety kept them up at night.

With an increasing number of people living for two decades or more after they retire, the thought of no longer working and reaching your older years can be anxiety-inducing for some.

Read on to discover seven ways to ensure you are emotionally prepared for your retirement.

1. Ease into it and build your routine

Retiring doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing leap into the unknown. If you feel anxious about your upcoming retirement, you could try easing yourself into it by going part-time at work.

That way, you can slowly build your routine, adjust to a new lifestyle, and explore your interests and activities at a more comfortable pace.

A gradual transition can help you find a balance that works best for you, making the shift to retirement smoother and less overwhelming.

You can read more about easing into your retirement phase in our previous article on the topic.

2. Find or develop your passion

Retirement is a great time to explore yourself and your interests, learn new skills, and find or develop your passions.

You may have had a keen interest in your younger years that you let go as the demands of work, children, and life left you short on time for yourself. Or perhaps you have always been interested in trying your hand at something but weren’t sure if it was for you.

Engaging in activities you love can provide a sense of purpose and fulfilment and benefit your mental and emotional health.

Whether it’s taking blues guitar lessons, joining an acting group, finding your local rambling society, or becoming a local historical tour guide, retirement is the perfect opportunity to find an outlet that introduces you to others and gives you a newfound lust for life.

To emotionally prepare for retirement, you could begin cultivating these interests now, to help ensure you are well set up to have a rich and rewarding life in the years after your career.

3. Make exciting plans

Having exciting plans on the horizon is a good idea at any stage in life but is particularly important during retirement.

After decades of hard work and saving, your years ahead hold more free time than ever before.

As you know, this can be daunting, but it is also your opportunity to start planning all the things you have ever wanted to do and ticking a few off the proverbial bucket list. This ensures you are well prepared to fulfil your lifelong dream and can help you to start feeling excited about retiring, which could help to quell your anxiety.

So, whether it’s booking your round-the-world trip, finding a course in something new and daring, or simply scheduling a weekend away with your children and grandchildren, exciting plans can add a sense of adventure to this new chapter of life and give you a reason to look forward to retirement.

4. Keep active

Keeping active is important at every stage of your life, but doing so in retirement can be particularly beneficial.

While exercise isn’t strictly about ensuring your emotional preparedness for retirement, there are proven links between activity and wellbeing.

A report from Harvard University found that physical activity can lead to the release of endorphins, which reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Strength and mobility exercises such as calisthenics, yoga, and Pilates can also build the muscles around your joints, helping to stave off arthritis and improve your overall stability.

If you haven’t exercised much before, you can start by going for daily walks. The Independent reports that walking 8,000 to 12,000 steps a day – roughly between an hour and an hour and a half – is linked to a lower risk of early death.

If that sounds like a lot, try building up to it with a few short walks each day.

As you approach retirement, it might be useful to gradually increase your exercise levels so you can hit the ground running and keep active when you finally retire.

5. Build your network

For most people, community and social networks are fundamental to happiness and wellbeing, and for many, work is the primary source of these connections.

So, as you approach retirement, it’s essential to actively maintain and build relationships outside the workplace.

Being part of a community allows for opportunities to engage in meaningful activities, share interests, and forge new friendships, which can enhance your overall enjoyment of this phase of life.

You could also try exploring new technologies. Although they can be challenging and frustrating to begin with, communication platforms and devices can open up your social network and allow you to keep in touch with your friends, family, and people all over the world with similar interests.

Investing in a new laptop, phone, tablet, or webcam could help ensure you stay connected. You could also explore downloading apps like Zoom, Teams, or WhatsApp to facilitate communication, making it easier to maintain relationships and participate in virtual meetings or social activities.

So, whether you join local clubs or online forums, or reach out to existing friends who you’d like to see more often, building and nurturing your network can enrich your experience when you come to retire.

6. Lend a hand

When you have a job, you have a defined purpose. Your work contributes to the success of your colleagues or your organisation, giving you a sense of accomplishment and belonging.

Finding new ways to create purpose and meaning in your daily life can help maintain that sense of fulfilment in retirement, and helping others can be a great way of doing so.

You could start volunteering for a cause you feel passionately about. It could be your local charity shop, a refuge centre, or a clinic. Or you could pick up your grandchildren from school a few days a week or take them away at the weekend to give their parents a rest.

Feeling like you are “useless” can be anxiety-inducing, but the reality is that everyone has value. In retirement, you may discover that you can be even more helpful and make a greater impact on people’s lives than you did while working.

So, as you prepare for retirement, you could begin exploring ways you can help others around you and make a positive difference in your community.

7. Speak to a financial planner

Emotional preparedness is essential as you approach retirement, and a well-structured financial plan can facilitate a smoother transition, offering you peace of mind and alleviating your financial worries.

To speak to a financial planner, get in touch.

Email info@blueskyifas.co.uk or call us on 01189 876655.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.