It’s no secret that retirement is a huge lifestyle adjustment. No longer do you have the routine of paid work to shape your days – you are now free to choose how you spend your time.
This is both an exciting prospect and a daunting one. Exciting because you have your freedom back, and daunting because you now must decide what you’ll do with it!
Most retirees understand that rediscovering your purpose in life, financial security and finding the right place to live are all essential boxes to tick if you want to enjoy a happy retirement. However, maintaining your connections with others is equally important for both your happiness and your health.
Left unchecked, a lack of social connections can leave you feeling lonely, or even depressed. Loneliness is also bad for your health, with recent research showing it is a bigger risk factor for premature death than obesity or smoking.
Many retirees find it hard to fill the gap of daily connection after they finish work. So, if you need some ideas to help you make and maintain social connections, read on to learn 5 easy ways to avoid loneliness and stay connected in retirement.
Volunteer in Your Community
Volunteering is a great way to connect with others in your community. There are so many diverse opportunities, you’re bound to find something that you enjoy. You’ll surround yourself with like-minded people and share common ground after doing something worthwhile and meaningful together. And as an added bonus, the feel-good factor you get after helping others in need gives you a real boost. You can search for volunteer opportunities online, or if there’s somewhere in your local community that appeals, drop in and offer your assistance.
Take up a New Hobby
Another way to get acquainted with people who share your interests is through hobbies. There are endless possibilities here, from painting to collecting to golf and thousands in between. Rekindling your passion for a long-lost hobby is exciting and rewarding. While it may be possible to indulge your hobby in solitude, sharing it with others who love it as much as you do makes it more fun. So, jump online or check out the local newspaper to find out where and when you can meet up and share your hobby with others.
Become a Member of a Club
There are lots of interesting clubs around that can give you the chance to interact with others regularly. Joining a club provides you with a network of active and passionate people and is a great way to get involved in the local community. From social clubs to book clubs, and car clubs to cooking clubs – like hobbies, there are plenty of options. If you live in an over-55s community, there are often clubs and meetups you can join within the village; or if not, your library or community centre is generally a good place to go to find out what’s happening in your area.
Travel to Expand Your Horizons
Whether you stay local or head overseas, travel is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. If you travel as part of a group, you can make new friends and enjoy the journey together. Or if you travel solo, you’ll find yourself interacting with new and interesting people each day, and this can be a good reminder of how nice it is to connect with others.
Spend More Time with Friends and Family
When you are working five days a week, it can be hard to find the time and energy to see your friends and family as often as you’d like. Retirement offers the perfect time to reconnect with the people you love! Make an effort to organise a regular catch up with your friends, kids, grandkids and any other important people in your life. Put a reminder in your diary and try and tee up a lunch or coffee at least monthly. Because while it’s great to meet new people and connect with others who share our interests, spending time with the people who know and love us the most will give us the biggest emotional benefits.
Make the Effort to Connect – You’ll Be Happier and Healthier for It
When your life changes in retirement, it can take a bit of time and effort to find a new daily routine that is fulfilling. When you’re searching for purpose and looking for new ways to spend your days, be sure to prioritise your connections to others. Not only will you feel happier and enjoy it, but it may just help you stay healthy and live longer too.
Over to You
Do you have a favourite way to connect with others? We’d love you to share it! Simply post a comment below or visit our Facebook page.
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