Will I be bored?
We’ve all seen those popular media depictions of retirees, alone and glued to their screens watching daytime TV reruns, seemingly waiting life out. When we consider this, it seems no wonder people fear becoming bored in retirement. As much as we may want to believe this will never happen to us, sometimes it does. Boredom doesn’t come around because we don’t have plans or hopes for grand adventures, but more because we lack an understanding of the long-term psychological changes undergone once working life comes to an end.
Mental health in retirement is not an easy concept to plan for either; we all have different needs and ideas of what would qualify as a fulfilling retirement. So, how do we prepare ourselves for the psychological changes and keep the boredom at bay?
Build up the Social Network
Studies continually show that those who enjoy the best mental health in retirement are the ones most engaged in their communities. This could be as simple as getting in touch with old friends or as involved as reaching out to charities in the area and volunteering in your spare time. Whatever it is, it’s important to get up and begin expanding your circle. Just being able to have somewhere to go during the day and people to speak with when you are retired can make a huge difference to the way you see the world.
We often recommend volunteer work to clients as a great way to living a fulfilling retirement. Not only is it a great way to get involved with the community, but you get to meet and spend time with a diverse range of people. In fact, when the Muirfield ladies went to do a day of volunteer work at Geelong Mums in April 2017, they met a man who insisted that helping the organisation was his life’s purpose – and not just because of the incredible work they do!
Think Beyond the Adventure
Moving towards retirement, most spend their time plotting out where they’re going to go and what adventures they’re going to enjoy. As much as we love hearing about the adventures our clients look to embark on, we also understand many of these plans never come to fruition – and it’s not because retirees don’t have the money for it. More often than not, the adventure doesn’t happen because of various unexpected health issues that arise. When this happens, the disappointment can be crippling.
So, alongside the BIG plans, it’s necessary to give equal weighting to thinking about everyday plans. Consider what you want to be doing on a daily basis. There is no right or wrong answer to what you want to be doing, but you need to ensure you have the means to do it.
We touched on this briefly during Part 2 of this series, but a bit of creativity can be a huge asset in retirement – this is especially true if your job took up much of your life prior to retirement. For those whose lives revolve around their jobs and careers, the transition to retirement is likely going to be a huge shock once the initial wonder of the new free time begins to fade. This is because creativity is a major part of the human experience. Not only does utilising your creativity provide you with an enjoyable way of spending your days, but studies have shown that creativity reduces stress, boosts self-esteem and stimulates the brain (helping to prevent dementia!).
Your creativity can take you anywhere you’d like it to. It can even be an extra source of income. For example, if you love working with your hands you could potentially start making and selling furniture. If you love animals, you might consider walking the neighbourhood dogs on the side. If you don’t need the extra income why not write that book you always spoke about? Who knows, if you’re really good you might just get a pay day out of it anyway!
Most importantly, with a bit of courage and some creativity, you’ll never be bored and will feel pretty good about your retirement too.
It may sound cliché, but life is what you make it. There are quite a few people out there with a genuine fear of the potential boredom of life without work, but there is so much out there to be seen and done – and there is no shortage of life to be explored.
To read part 1 of this series click here
To read part 2 of this series click here