Making the Mental Adjustment to Retirement – Part 2


Source: Central

When it comes to retirement, one key to a successful transition is to find ways to replace the mental stimulation, socialization, physical activity and purpose that your career provided. Some suggestions:

• Identify cope-ahead strategies. Consider what retirement might look like before the big day arrives. You may want to plan for a gradual transition rather than a sudden stop by maintaining a part-time role or serving as a consultant.

Build structure into your day. Without the built-in structure that work provides, there’s more time for ruminating on the regrets of the past and the “what ifs” of the future. Structure can help you live in the moment and make the most of the time you have each day.

Try to identify a purpose for three key parts of each day: something to get you up in the morning such as a volunteer role; something to look forward to in the afternoon like lunch with a friend or a walk with a neighbor; and something to close out the evening such as a favorite meal or a good book.

Limit news intake. When at home it is easy to fall into the habit of keeping the television on. However, because news can be a constant, repetitive cycle of troubling information — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — it is best for retirees to limit news intake to an hour each day, which includes reading the morning paper.

Get creative. Retirement can provide an opportunity to explore new interests. Finding ways to bring a zest for life into your later years can promote better mental health.

Check in frequently. Talk to friends who are also going through this new stage in life and see how they’re coping. Reach out to family members if you need some extra support and stay connected.

Stay present. Try to make the best of the current moment and stay present. In other words, put your mind where your feet are. Focus on whatever it is you are doing now rather than thinking about the past or the future. Accept that life is unpredictable, and you don’t know what the future will bring.

Remain hopeful. Though your life may have changed, it is still a life worth living. You can still find opportunities for engagement and contentment.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling with retirement or other changes that come with age, there is no shame in seeking help and guidance. You’ve earned your retirement. You deserve to enjoy it.

Penn Medicine Princeton House Behavioral Health provides a wide range of outpatient and inpatient services customized to meet the needs of older adults. For more information or to find a therapist, call 888-437-1610 or visit

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Making the Mental Adjustment to Retirement