Preparing for retirement is an essential element of everyone’s life, and guarantees a smooth, stress-free transition. Retirement nowadays comes with several challenges, and the transition process is not easy, Teresa Wolande says, so it’s important to plan for it well, and to be prepared for the changes that will come.
Transitioning into a new lifestyle, the one that comes as you retire, is not necessarily a straightforward process for everyone, and each person handles change differently. Naturally, you’ll have certain expectations about retirement and about what your life will look like after you retire, and you might have planned a number of activities to fill your days with. Nevertheless, in the beginning you might feel overwhelmed with all the changes in your everyday life, and not be able to pursue all your goals. According to Teresa Wolande, adapting to change takes a lot of mental energy, which might leave you feeling emotionally drained. Take things easy and don’t expect of yourself to immediately find your balance — it will come, but it might take time.
You probably expect that you’ll have lots of free time after you retire — too much of it, even. And that’s one of the biggest paradoxes of retirement — you might suddenly find yourself way busier than you had expected and overwhelmed with all kinds of new projects and ambitious goals. In fact, many people choose to have a busy schedule because they are afraid of getting bored — to the point of overdoing it and getting too stressed out.
Managing your new schedule could be a surprisingly difficult challenge, especially given that you had probably expected being completely free. Giving your life structure and purpose is essential, but it’s also necessary to sometimes actually give yourself some time to relax and do nothing. Take up new projects and activities one at a time, and frequently reassess your goals, to make sure that they’re in line with what you truly want and enjoy doing.
You might expect to spend less once you retire — after all, all the work-related costs are now gone (commuting, business dinners, official attire, etc.). However, as Teresa Wolande points out, you might quickly find out that there are many new things that you’re excited to do, and that all of them (or almost) cost money — potentially, lots of money, for example traveling. Moreover, you might need to adjust your spending to your new income and downgrade several things — and that can prove to be a major challenge for many people. That’s why it’s important to have a solid financial plan in place, and to be able to stick to it. Track your spending closely and always have a well-defined budget, to guarantee a worry-free future.
Work has the definite advantage of structuring your life into well-defined, meaningful chunks — the work week and the weekend give your life predictability; routine is grounding and provides stability. If you’re suddenly deprived of that routine, you might find out that you worry much more about your future, about those around you, about your health, etc. Stress and anxiety might slowly creep in. Now that you have more time for yourself and for your own goals and ambitions, it’s important to give your life structure, in order to find your balance and to feel satisfied, fulfilled and to actually look forward to the things you’ll be doing in the future — and to not let worries and fears overtake your mind.
Work comes with plenty of social interaction, and once you stop going to work every day, you might feel deprived of it, and actively missing it. Teresa Wolande emphasizes how essential it is to work on building and maintaining deep, meaningful connections with your social circle, and you might need to be more proactive in order to achieve that. Keeping in touch with your close friends and family — even when they live far away — is as important as investing time and effort into maintaining friendships with people from your community.
Retirement comes with its own set of challenges, and it might be more difficult to adapt to it than what you might initially expect. Give yourself time and accept that there will be things that you will struggle with, and strive to find meaningful, fulfilling activities, which give you structure and ground you.
Originally published at https://www.teresawolande.com on August 21, 2019.