How to mentally and emotionally prepare for retirement

Not just money in the bank

Not just money in the bank
When people are heading for retirement, the most common advise they receive revolves around their financial plan. And though really important, it’s not the only aspect one should be prepared for.


One third of retirees develop symptoms of depressionOne third of retirees develop symptoms of depression
It’s estimated that almost one third of retirees in the United States develop symptoms of depression at this stage of life, according to the National Institute of Health.


Loss of sense of purposeMake sure you’re not an emotional wreck
Mental health experts point to the loss of a routine and sense of purpose as the main cause for experiencing symptoms of depression.


The difficulty of filling the gapThe difficulty of filling the gap

“For many people, their work offers meaning and purpose in their lives. When their job is gone, it can be difficult to fill that gap with something else,” says Iris Waichler, a clinical social worker to PsychCentral.


Preparing emotionally and mentallyPreparing emotionally and mentally
This is why it is equally important to prepare emotionally for the loss and life changes that retirement entails and be ready to “fill that gap” with something as rewarding as your job once was.
Tips that will help soften the blowTips that will help soften the blow
That being said, there’s no avoiding the negative feelings that might come up with retirement; feeling lonely or lost is normal, experts say, but there are some tips that can help “soften the blow”:
Retire in stagesRetire in stages

If possible, the British Heart Foundation, recommends retiring in stages to ensure a smoother transition. By decreasing your workload over several years, you can adjust more easily to filling your time in other ways.


Develop a routineDevelop a routine

Having a schedule can emulate the sense of purpose and structure that employment provides, experts say.


Keeping track of a calendarKeeping track of a calendar

“Put together a calendar that will help keep you busy. Possible things to include are exercise classes, social events with friends, attending lectures, or spending time with family,” says Waichler, clinical social worker. “It helps you to be more in control of your schedule and your life.”



According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise can help ease depression by releasing feel-good endorphins. Plus, it can help you connect with others, or with yourself while filling your time in a healthy way.


Seniors with limited mobilitySeniors with limited mobility

If you have limited mobility, consider doing activities such as swimming, gardening, chair yoga, tai chi, cooking, knitting, fishing, puzzles and games.



Even if you stop working, you can stay in touch with your former co-workers. Experts also recommend to make plans with friends and family and to check out social and cultural events happening in your community.



According to the American Psychological Association (APA), working and volunteering have been shown to prevent depression, as well as symptoms of dementia and hypertension.


Keep your mind activeKeep your mind active

Several studies have shown that there are many health benefits of learning in later life, such as, improving neurone regeneration, reducing the risk of memory loss and lowering stress levels.


Learn something newLearn something new

So consider learning a new skill, such as a language, an instrument or getting a qualification, as they  can give you health benefits and joy.


Take up a new projectTake up a new project

Another way of enjoying your retirement is to take up a new project, something that you’d always wanted to do but never got around to. Perhaps writing a book or renovating your home.


Personal projects are good for mental healthPersonal projects are good for mental health

According to the National Institute of Health, personal projects, engagement and completion are linked to overall mental health.


Practice mindfulnessPractice mindfulness

You can also practice mindfulness while completing your project, while doing a physical activity or a hobby, such as cooking or knitting. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of what we’re doing and it has plenty of health benefits.


Benefits of mindfulnessBenefits of mindfulness

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the daily practice of mindfulness has several benefits, such as stress reduction, reduced rumination, and improved concentration, among many others.


Accept your new lifeAccept your new life

But all preparations aside, the first step towards enjoying your retirement will probably have to be accepting that your life has changed, whatever that might entail for you personally.


Talk about itTalk about it

If you’re finding it hard to accept the loss of your old life, or feelings of depression come up, experts recommend talking about it with health care professionals, as well as with friends and family members.


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