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How to Manage the Emotions of Retirement

Portrait of a happy couple

From afar, you may view retirement as an idyllic state, when your responsibilities are few, your time is yours, and you’re able to enjoy life on your own terms. Ultimately, that may be a fairly good description. What you may not anticipate are the emotional effects of retirement and the adjustment period that comes as you close one chapter and move into the next.

 Despite all of its rewards, retirement is truly life-changing. If your self-identity is closely tied to your career or other aspects of your pre-retirement lifestyle, this new era isn’t just about freedom; it’s about finding new ways to define your life and sense of purpose.

 Thinking of your transition to retirement in stages can help you make sense of this potentially tumultuous time and process the emotional effects of retirement in a healthy and constructive way.


Stages of Retirement

Your attitude and approach to retirement will be uniquely yours, shaped by your personal circumstances and experiences. Even so, you can expect to encounter each of these stages of retirement to some degree as you move into this new stage of life.


Planning: During this stage, you’re likely to feel a great deal of excitement and anticipation for the milestone that is creeping closer into your reach. You may experience some of the early emotional effects of retirement if you find yourself worrying or anxious about things like finances. If you’re considering a move, the choices can be equally exciting and overwhelming. While you’re considering the practical aspects, remember to also consider your lifestyle and begin thinking about what you’d like to do with your time when retirement finally arrives.


Retirement: This stage, when you officially retire, is often marked by jubilation, but you may also experience a tinge of bittersweet sorrow as you say farewell to the life you’ve known for years, if not decades. For many retirees, the sense of freedom and liberation is powerful during this stage, as you start tackling your bucket list and busily begin the work of transitioning into your retirement lifestyle.


Disenchantment: Over time, you may find that elation slipping and the emotional effects of retirement growing more powerful as you settle into a routine that feels more monotonous than rewarding. Boredom and a lack of purpose might lead you to feel a bit disappointed or adrift. If you’re not as socially engaged as you were before retirement, you may also find yourself feeling lonely or sad.


Reorientation: In many ways, this can be the most challenging stage, because it’s a time of reflection and defining a new normal that may be very different from the past. It can also be an exciting time, because you have the opportunity and freedom to explore yourself and your interests in ways you never have before. It’s a chance to consider hobbies or untapped passions that can give your life renewed purpose.


Stability: This stage is your reward for the self-reflection and work you put into navigating the emotional effects of retirement. You’re comfortable in your new skin, enjoying the new life, and finding fulfilling ways to spend your time.  


Supportive Surroundings

Your surroundings play a significant role in your emotional journey as you’re adjusting to retirement. Choosing to retire at a Life Plan Community like Stonebridge at Montgomery puts a wide range of resources within easy access, so you can gracefully move into this new season of life.

 You’ll find robust amenities and activities to help you uncover new interests, such as a retirement hobby or a rewarding role as a volunteer. What’s more, our award-winning wellness program provides customized support to help you define and achieve your goals, and the chance to socialize with peers in the same stage of life is good for your overall well-being. Contact us to learn more about the support system we offer retirees at every stage or retirement.

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