Life after retirement is a time of change, freedom, and opportunities. The days are open and the choices are many. Once you’ve retired from your occupation, you may find that you have time to give back in a new way or pursue your hobbies. You might even be at the point where you feel like there’s nothing left to do, but it’s important to keep moving so that life feels more whole than empty. There will come a day when you won’t be able to work any longer — so why not make the most of today?
1. Volunteer your time in a new way
Volunteering is an important form of giving back, and you can work with young people, animals, or even your favorite cause. Think about where your talents would be best used to benefit others. Volunteering is wonderful because it doesn’t just benefit the recipient; giving often makes us feel better than receiving. Studies show that those who give tend to have a higher sense of well-being. Volunteering can also keep your mind sharp and improve social interactions, which is especially important as you age.
2. Do something creative
Long retirements offer many hours during which you can pursue your hobbies or learn new skills. In the past, retirees might have been content playing golf or collecting stamps, but today’s retiree can be more creative. If you have writing talent, self-publishing may be an option for sharing your words with the world. You could also teach art classes or get involved in crafts that reflect your interests. Some retirees draw on new passions they’ve developed later in life by taking up a new sport, getting drum playing lessons, or even learning a computer skill.
3. Find something else to fill your day
If you’re not interested in volunteering or taking on a creative project, then it may be time to look into something that can fill your hours with purpose and meaning. Part-time work is a great choice if you don’t mind leaving the house and want to earn extra income. You could work at a store, manage an antique booth, or help out with kids’ sports; there are many part-time opportunities that will get you back in the workforce without entailing full-time hours or pressure. If you’d rather be around people while working, then you could try something like driving for Uber or starting your own online business.
4. Travel to new and interesting places
When you’re retired, traveling can be done on any budget. If it’s your first time visiting a faraway city, start with the tourist attractions and work your way out to see different neighborhoods or check out smaller attractions. You’ll get an authentic feel for the place instead of spending all of your time in places designed for visitors. There are lots of businesses that offer adventure tours, like to historic sites or through the mountains; you can enjoy the trip without worrying about how to get there.
5. Spend more time with family and friends
It’s important to foster relationships with the people who support you and whom you want in your life. As we age, it doesn’t always feel as easy to meet new people, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Join a group or club that reflects your interests or find a friend to play cards or checkers with once a week. It’s never too late to make new friends, and the effort you put in now will pay off in spades when you get older and can’t travel or volunteer like you used to.
6. Stay active
A big part of life after retirement is staying healthy so that your body and mind stay sharp. You might try exercising at home by doing some crunches or push-ups; you could also try simple exercises like walking around the block. When you’re retired, it’s particularly important to stay active because there are more hours in the day for your mind to wander and stress about things like money or unpaid bills.
7. Get creative with mealtime
Preparing healthy meals is a bigger challenge for retirees because the pace of life changes and leaves less time for meal planning and cooking. Instead of eating out all the time, try something like meal prep; it may take you more time to make your grocery list and buy everything in bulk, but you’ll save money in the end and have healthy food to eat.
It is important to have a plan for the years after retirement, and it starts by finding something that will fill your time with purpose. The key is starting small so you can gradually feel more confident in pursuing new interests or hobbies while still feeling active and connected to others. What are some of the creative projects or activities you’ve pursued during your free time? We’d love to hear about them!