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As an entirely new chapter to life, retirement can feel both exciting and daunting for plenty of reasons. The loss of routine and distractions such as raising a family and maintaining a career often leaves a significant gap in people’s lives. And, it can be a difficult adjustment.
Boredom can become an issue for many people who enter this next phase, and even though most people of every age will experience it from time to time, boredom in retirement can be dangerous. Alongside blocking a sense of fulfilment in later life, a lack of purpose or activity can impact mental health, and even lead to depression in more severe cases.
However, your retirement years have the potential to be the best time of your life. It gives you the chance to enjoy new experiences, embrace new hobbies and give yourself well-deserved self-indulgence. So, if you’re planning to retire any time soon, or have already finished your career and are wondering what to do next, read on as we look at how you can tackle boredom in retirement.
After a working life spent in a particular career path or industry, perhaps you feel as though you’ve become too familiar in a specific area. Retirement is time to rediscover yourself and have the opportunity to expand your knowledge from your past life.
Think back to the beginning, before you started your career. What did you want to do? Did you achieve any degree or have higher learning ambitions? And where did you find the most interest? Answering these questions will help you think seriously about the exciting possibilities that are ahead of you, as well as make a decision that you’ll genuinely enjoy.
Some people decide to study for a degree in their retirement, often with the Open University or a local institution. Others choose to open a small business, start a part-time job or even forge an entirely new career. Whatever your decision will be, you now have the chance to explore an entirely new area of interest and reinvent yourself. And, as McCarthy & Stone homeowners Angie and Edson Chace prove, age should never limit your dreams.
Experiencing different lifestyles and cultures will be meaningful and give your retirement purpose. Travel is an excellent way to do this, enabling you to gain a broader view of the world and discover new passions or interests that you didn’t realise you had before.
However, experiencing new ways of life doesn’t necessarily have to mean travelling far. Volunteering close to home, with disadvantaged groups, homeless people or social causes will show you a new side of life and open your mind to people or projects you weren’t aware of before. For the more adventurous, you could even try living in a monastery for a short period and explore a completely new lifestyle.
Wherever you decide to go, volunteering and travel are lovely ways to make new friends and like-minded people. They will also give you plenty of stories to tell your family and friends!
Staying up-to-date with the world around us can be more difficult than you might think. With so much happening and constant changes occurring in politics and the news, it’s a challenge.
By volunteering for your local political party, you’ll be able to get to know your community and learn about the issues, news and uplifting stories that are affecting your area (and further afield) right now. Furthermore, it will give you the chance to learn more about people you may never cross paths with, and perhaps shed some light on different struggles or needs.
Whether you decide to learn an instrument or spend an hour a day listening to your favourite songs, music has several benefits and will do more than overcome boredom. Described as being the equivalent to what circuit training is for your body, learning an instrument is an excellent way to look after your brain, thoroughly engaging it and activating multiple parts. Proven to have beneficial effects for dementia, alzheimers and parkinson’s sufferers, music supports every person’s emotional, psychological and social needs. Learning to play an instrument can also improve hand-eye coordination. There isn’t much else that will work your brain in the same way!
Even better? Learning an instrument can build self-esteem and is also an excellent way to meet new people and make friends. Learning an instrument can lead to joining local orchestras, brass bands, choirs and even performances at events. However, if you don’t fancy doing this, try to spend more time listening to music and attend musical events when possible. Here, you'll find an excellent way to sharpen your mind and meet like-minded people.
There are plenty of ways that you can leave a legacy for future generations. However, as our planet becomes increasingly threatened by global warming, teaming up with the eco-conscious younger generation can help make a change and leave a positive impact. By supporting the younger, and future generation in creating a better world - you can take pride in knowing that you’ve helped to leave something for them.
There’s no need for big gestures. Instead, you can encourage recycling in your home, use eco products and alternatives to plastic when possible or even set up a recycling scheme if you live in an apartment building. Alternately, you could volunteer with local sustainability, green energy or ecological projects. Wildlife and nature conservation is also a wonderful cause to support and one which will positively impact our planet. Or, you can look into other local projects and causes that you can get involved with and contribute to change.
Researching and creating an extensive family tree is a brilliant project to embark. It’s also one that will require a lot of time and work! Thankfully, there are plenty of resources, both online and physical that will grant you access to useful information and knowledge that will aid you and your family tree.
Collecting this information is an excellent way to document your past and leave exciting information for your family and friends. You'll also find out new information about your roots. You may even find new family members or reconnect with extended relatives!
Tai Chi, mindfulness meditation and Hatha yoga are all excellent and gentle ways to improve your wellbeing. Offering calm and soothing exercise, they are suitable for any age, and you can commonly find classes that are purposefully created for those of retirement age.
All of the above benefit more than wellbeing too. Mindfulness, in particular, is a good skill to have, and can hugely help in a variety of circumstances, from processing and de-escalating everyday stressful situations to helping people deal with loss and significant events.
The freedom that retirement gives is a perfect opportunity to reconnect with old friends and develop new relationships. Use your newly found free time to create shared experiences with each other, discover new skills and find like-minded people at new events.
Think about joining a club or attend a workshop that you’ve always wanted to try. Not only could it be the start to a new hobby, but you’ll meet people who share the same interests and desire to learn your chosen subject.
Another great way to develop new relationships is to find a pen pal. A pen pal is a great way to stay in touch with the wider world and learn about different ways of life. It’s also, a great way to forge new, healthy relationships and keep your brain sharp. Having to write letters or emails will definitely keep your English skills in check!
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