During our working lives, most of us idly fantasise to either ourselves or others about what we will do when we retire. We might talk about a life of golf, gardening, travel or finally getting around to some long-postponed project, but there is often a degree of bravado in our words.
As retirement becomes an imminent reality, it can suddenly seem a frightening prospect. Suddenly we are plagued by visions of elderly people spending the day watching quiz shows on TV and trying to find ways to fill the endless hours and days, as money runs short and mental and physical health deteriorates.
The truth is that these days, some people spend as many years in retirement as they do in work. It’s just another period of life, and like childhood, adolescence or middle-age, the key is to live it to the full.
Practical tips to stay positive
If you’ve spent your working life getting up at 6AM every morning to catch a commuter train, you will probably be glad to enjoy a lie-in. But overdoing it will lead to disrupted sleep patterns, insomnia and increased anxiety. Far better to have a set wake up time and to do something invigorating, such as a morning walk, to set you up for the day.
Ensuring your body gets the right nutrients is also vitally important for both mental and physical health. In particular, make a point of maintaining your serotonin levels, either by choosing foods like salmon, poultry, eggs and dairy, or by using a natural supplement.
Turn your passion into your new job
We all have things we would love to do but never quite have the time. Before retirement day even dawns, start getting a plan in place to make it happen. It could be anything, from buying a classic car that needs work and restoring it to its former glory (or at least to something you can drive and enjoy) to researching your family history to honing your skills at a game like golf or snooker.
The important thing is to seize this moment, and really make it happen. Treat it as a regular job, but one where you can dictate your own hours – so if you decide you are just going to spend an hour or two on it on a particular day due to other commitments, that is fine too.
Get active in the community
In this online age, community spirit is something that we should all cherish, but it can be in short supply. Get out there and really get to know your local community. That doesn’t necessarily mean accosting the neighbours and dragging them to an impromptu coffee morning against their will, but find out what activities are going on in your area of interest and get involved. You will probably be in for a surprise or two when you find out just how much is happening right on your doorstep, particularly if you have lived in the area for some time.