Goodman Community Center | The emotional impact retirement can cause

The emotional impact retirement can cause

Retirement can be an exciting time. However, when the reality arrives, one can feel anxious by the loss of routine and direction in life

April 1, 2024 |
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What's your plan for retirement?

By Gayle Laszewski, GCC assistant director of older adult programs

Retirement can bring exciting thoughts of starting a new life chapter; pursuit of relaxing pastimes; more time with family and friends; and happiness doing what you want to do on your chosen schedule. However, when the reality of retirement arrives, one can feel anxious and saddened by the loss of routine and direction in life.

According to an article, cited on Web MD (by Stephanie Watson), almost 1 in 3 retirees say they feel depressed – a rate higher than that of the adult population. Leaving work can strip away your sense of purpose and self-worth. You also lose the financial rewards and the achievements of your work. Without the daily routine of work, you can feel lost.

The early years in retirement can be particularly challenging. Up until retirement, you do not have to really consider how you want to spend the rest of your life. You are far too busy. It’s natural to feel there may be no point to anything you are doing because you don’t have to do anything in particular at that moment. People can also feel disillusioned after the “honeymoon stage” of retirement, realizing that retirement isn’t a permanent vacation after all.

There are things you can do to help prepare yourself for retirement. First, ask yourself, “What do you want to be?” Before you retired, you had an easy answer to that question.

After retirement that identity information becomes obsolete. This requires taking time for self-reflection. What brings you joy? What projects do you look forward to? Whose company do you enjoy? If you are struggling with the answers, reach out to family and friends and ask what they think you used to enjoy.

Secondly, research indicates that we all need meaningful purpose to feel satisfied in life, and without work, you need to find ways to create meaning in your retirement.

What is important to you that you can spend the next phase of your life doing? What excites you? Answering these questions can help steer you through the unknown territory of retirement. Knowing what brings you joy and what fires you up enough to commit to things will provide you with the structure to handle the roller-coaster ride of ups and downs in retirement.

If you are looking for a resource to guide you through this process of self-reflection and help build your vision for meaningful retirement, learn more about the four-week workshop on meaningful retirement in April at the link below.

Meaningful retirement workshop

Join us for this workshop, Tuesdays April 9-30 from 6-8 p.m.

Learn More
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