For most people, the working day brings structure and order to their lives. For those who are approaching retirement and finding the prospect daunting, it may be beneficial to find ways to mentally adjust to life without work.

The most positive aspects of work

Although a salary may seem like the most positive aspect of a job, there are a great number of other benefits. For many people work is how they define themselves, it gives them a sense of identity. Living without work may seem similar to losing a part of one's identity.

Work colleagues and socialising, work achievements and a purpose to every day are all part and parcel of working life. Retirement can seem like an end to all of these positive work aspects and for some people, a mental adjustment will be required.

Retirement doesn't have to mean an end to work

Retirement can be hard for those who do define themselves through work. But retirement does not have to mean giving up work completely. Many retirees work part-time or undertake voluntary work. Any type of work during retirement will give a sense of structure and purpose. It's quite legal for those who are reaching retirement age to request to continue working. This could be on a part-time, flexible or job-sharing basis.

Some useful websites to help with this are:

Over 50 Overseas 

Age UK 

Do It 

Look for ways to structure days during retirement

If retirement is approaching and continuing to work is not an option, then looking for ways to add structure to days will be beneficial. This can be achieved by researching certain interests that would be enjoyable. Interests can include adult education classes to learn new skills, fitness classes and sports activities. It may be the case that retirees have work skills that can be passed onto others. This can be undertaken through private tutoring or even teaching a few classes at colleges.

The Open University 

Keep in contact with work friends during retirement

Work colleagues are a huge part of working life but losing this network of friends due to retirement is not compulsory. Regular lunch, dinner dates and nights out with work friends will help to ease the transition into retirement. It only takes a phone call, email or text to arrange social evenings with previous work colleagues. Stay in touch by joining social networking sites and make a habit of keeping in contact. Workplace friendships do take just as much maintenance as friendships outside of the employment arena.

Take some time to adjust to retirement

Adjusting to retirement will not be an overnight process. As with all major changes in life, there will be a period of adjustment. Retirees will deal with this in different ways but one of the most popular is to take a well earned holiday. Taking a retirement holiday will help to de-stress, consider the future and the options available. This holiday can be thought of as the beginning of a new life chapter. Come back from holiday relaxed and refreshed ready to face retirement head-on.

Focus on the positives of retirement

Retirement can be a scary prospect for a lot of people but dwelling on the negatives will not ease fears. Look at the positive aspects of retirement, which can include:

  • More leisure time to enjoy with family and friends
  • Retirees are their own bosses and no longer answer to anyone else
  • A chance to learn new skills through free or low-cost adult education classes
  • Extended holidays can be taken during off-season periods when prices are low
  • More time to reconnect with partners or spouses
  • The ability to choose jobs that will be enjoyable and with flexible hours
  • More time can be spent on recreational pursuits such as sports activities
  • The chance to feel satisfied in new jobs such as volunteering or passing on skills through teaching

Take away points:

  • The retirement transition will be easier with a positive attitude that focuses on what is to be gained
  • Plan and structure your days so you can maximise your time and feel a greater sense of achievement
  • Take a holiday to reflect on and adjust to the new chapter in your life or use it to spend more time with friends and family members
  • See retirement as a new challenge, register for volunteering, take up a new hobby or learn new skills through low-cost adult education classes.

This article was written by the career coaching experts at Renovo.

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