Retirement is a time you look forward to for decades of your life, and once it finally arrives, it can leave many retirees feeling lost. To avoid depression or a lack of direction from the sudden lack of a working routine, think about the many things you can do to make retirement fun.
1—Be physically active.
For physical and mental health, experts agree that having an active lifestyle is essential to happiness at any age. In retirement, even though your body has aged, and you may not be able to handle all of the physical activities you used to do, focus on movement. It can help ease depression, prevent injury, and more.
Find ways to incorporate more movement into your everyday life. This can be as simple as walking at every opportunity. Getting a step counter can help you reach a target daily goal of steps taken or time in motion.
If you’re making time for travel, which is another great way to make retirement fun, be sure that you try to do things that keep you moving. Go on hikes in national parks, take up golf, or join an exercise class with a group of friends.
2—Volunteer or work part-time.
Many retirees report a sense of loss upon retirement, and it makes sense. When you’ve worked at a job for years, possibly most of your adult life, your identity can become wrapped up in that career.
Finding a way to work part-time can earn you extra money, making your nest egg last longer. Plus, it provides a sense of purpose. One great tip is to do consulting work in your field of expertise; after so many years in your field, you have a lot to offer on a part-time or independent basis.
If money isn’t an issue, retirees can also have a lot of fun by volunteering. There are always organizations in the local community who need helpers, and you can often pursue whatever interests you the most. You might teach free art classes, or pack meals at the food bank, or tutor children at the public library. Use your talents to help serve others.
3—Cultivate your social life.
One of the best things about retirement is having more time available for getting to know friends, new and old. Socializing is so important to a healthy and happy life in retirement.
Try to spend some time on growing your oldest friendships (and family relationships). You might set up a weekly lunch date with a few local friends, or start virtual happy hours with those who live far away. Take the time to reach out to people who matter the most to you, whether through handwritten letters, emails, phone/video calls, or texts.
At the same time, retirement is a great opportunity to meet new people and grow your social circle. You might meet new friends at a religious organization or exercise class or book club. Don’t be afraid to branch out beyond your usual relationships and start building new ones.
4—Discover a new hobby.
Retirement is a perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself, or at least try one new activity you’ve never done before. Be willing to be a beginner at something that interests you.
Perhaps you’ve always had a desire to try a certain creative endeavor, but never had the time after working 40+ hours a week. Now is your chance to use the extra hours in your day to challenge yourself.
Learning a new skill helps keep your mind sharp, which will help improve everything else you do from here on out. It gives you a goal to work towards and can even provide a place to meet new friends and build your social network.
Whether you sign up for pottery classes, finally start learning a foreign language, or take up beekeeping, just imagine all the ways your mind will stretch. You never know when you might discover a new and life-changing passion.
5—Travel the world.
Obviously, near the top of most people’s list of things they want to do in retirement is travel. It’s something too few of us get the chance to do during our careers. Time and money are such major constraints that it’s hard to carve out traveling opportunities.
So in retirement, if you’re able-bodied, plan a trip as soon as possible. Think about places you’ve always dreamt of seeing. Maybe you’d like to tour your ancestral homeland, if your parents or grandparents came from a different country. Perhaps you want to gallivant the nation in a RV and see natural landmarks. Or you simply pick a city or region that’s totally unfamiliar to tour for a few days.
There are plenty of ways to have fun during retirement, so be sure to take advantage of any new activities you can.