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10 tips for structuring your days in retirement

The idea of ​​kicking back in retirement with “nothing to do” sounds fantastic in young adulthood or middle age when life can feel overloaded, so it’s surprising that a major complaint about retirement is “nothing to do.” is to do. To be fair, the paradoxical complaint of “too many choices” remains a common complaint even among retirees, which will offer us every kindergarten teacher, clergy member, and cruise director with the classic insight: People need structure. Is.

Freedom from choice or preference is tempting, but all it takes is one frustrated late afternoon wondering where the day went for most of us to recognize that we need a little more design. The blessing and curse of our jobs. They told us who we were, where to go, and most of all what to do in any given week. Getting out of that phase of life is mostly a blessing; Each of us just has to make it so with some forethought. The need for planning is no less true than at home when we travel.

Following are 10 recommendations for structuring your day in retirement to strike the right balance of independence and goal orientation. You’ll notice that some are inter-related, such as adding innovation through your nutrition. If 10 is too many for you or some of them don’t appeal to you, pick the top three that resonate with you and put them to use!

1. Start With a Plan

Your first hour is when you craft the story of how the day will go. Whether you wake up grumbling or beaming light, take a moment for yourself to decide the theme of the day. How do you want to feel it? Any specific result in mind? You can accomplish this in a number of ways, such as writing a phrase on a kitchen eraser board or journaling for half an hour, but state what the win means to you for this particular day.

Pro Tip: “I’m ‘off duty’ and deeply rested” is a perfectly fine option.

Bonus: Choose a theme song for the day.

2. Create Daily Rituals

The root of the word culture is Secrament, a sacred work. Rituals are moments in our lives that we consciously dedicate to expressing our values ​​or our gratitude, and to feel something greater than ourselves. Some perform rituals through contact with the natural world, others through religious rituals. Identify where it is already present in your day and can be enhanced, or if it needs to be introduced.

Pro Tip: The difference between a ritual and a routine is the consciousness we devote to it. It is about presence of mind.

Bonus: Ask someone you respect what their rituals are.

3. Establish Routine, Then Repeat

Routine is no less important than rituals. Functional habits are an asset to our longevity because of what they accomplish for us on a systematic, unconscious basis. Are nightly “sweet dreams” messages to your siblings or daily cleaning of your emails sacred acts? Probably not, but it is the predictability and effectiveness of our routines that provide the canvas on which we can add color to our lives.

Pro Tip: Ditch a routine you should have stopped ages ago (Still paying for a newspaper?) and add a new one that’s overdue (How about a ripe piece of fruit before lunch?) ?).

Bonus: Copy someone else’s routine that seems to work for them.

4. Experience something new

You heard it here first! OK, maybe not, but you should still add a little novelty to your day. Even driving down different paths sharpens our mind, and following our curiosity either spontaneously or with more sophisticated planning not only makes life more interesting; He makes We more interesting. Researching your next travel plans matters – learning and anticipation are just as essential as the travel itself.

Pro Tip: Museums change their exhibitions from time to time – same place, new museum. Get back there!

Bonus: Try one new healthy food every week. Worst case you can complain about how bad it was.

5. Keep Moving

Everyday. Every day. At least go out for a walk, and have to walk to work. If you’re more interested in sports and achieving personal bests, incorporate it into your day, or do your screen time on the treadmill or stationary bike. Fitness and movement exercises are the defining behaviors of quality now and ease of your longevity later. Bring your water thermos and drink up!

Pro Tip: The enemy is sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass as we age). A little hard work goes a long way.

Bonus: If you’re a solo exerciser, more power to you, but get a friend and mix up your routine to add a little innovation and a lot of support to follow.

6. Build Social Connections

No, not social media. Do whatever interests you, but make sure to build in some meaningful voice-to-voice social interactions each day. This could mean lunch with a friend, a regular phone call or video meet-up, or regularly calling up with acquaintances to play games and shoot the breeze.

Pro Tip: Every other human being also needs social interaction. Plan to throw out a few invitations, and be prepared to discuss changes if a stale social routine needs to be redesigned.

Bonus: People love to help. An easy way to friend acquaintances is to ask them to pitch in with you on a volunteer action.

7. Enjoy Quiet Time

Even the most extroverted of us need some balance of “blessed solitude” for reflection or to feel the sense of “nothing going on” that we need. This is especially important in the transition to retirement, when we may find that commuting to and from work is taking up digestion time we can no longer rely on, or we may have lost spouses or community members. with is suddenly triple time. sometimes less is more.

Pro Tip: It’s a proverbial Band-Aid removal conversation. It can be awkward to say “I need more time to myself,” but people get it and having a conversation will make things a lot better.

Bonus: Caregivers must fully design their own battery recharge, whether drawn to the role by personality or swayed by circumstance.

8. Discover Your Purpose

It has been well documented that not only does our lifespan extend but the quality of that longevity is also enriched with purpose. Setting just one or two daily goals is useful and provides a sense of direction and impact. You can also embrace a larger purpose, such as mentoring up-and-comers in your area of ​​expertise or identifying a societal need and devoting time to addressing it.

Pro Tip: shop around. The contributions you make don’t have to be grand. Something as simple as a weekly grocery shopping trip with a neighbor who no longer must do it alone is high-impact, well-cared for.

Bonus: Think you’re not a green thumb? Experiment with cactus. Providing care, and taking an interest in the well-being of someone who is in need of us, means a lot.

9. Inculcate good eating habits

In our house, we have a state of mind that we call the “hangman”. Anything orchestrated during a “hangry,” especially deciding what to eat, is a recipe for derailment. A better structure is to shop for groceries with the entire week in mind, and reconfirm tomorrow’s plan each day. This is true even while traveling. It sounds childish, but we can all admit that we’ve had a bag of chips for lunch in lieu of a properly planned meal and faced the consequences. Decide in advance what, when and with whom you are eating.

Pro Tip: “Having lunch” doesn’t have to be in person. Book regular lunches with people over video conference. The social benefit is obvious but “what are you doing?” Is there also a health factor to account for?

Bonus: Here’s a simple, high-quality resource on meal planning from the National Institute on Aging.

10. Re-evaluate at the end of the day

Take a reset moment at the end of your day. Even if you brilliantly designed “doing nothing” and accomplished it, your day was a treasure trove of experiences. Whether your context for this pause is gratitude, prayer, meditation, or recognition of lessons learned, this pause occurs when you articulate the benefits of being you for the day or identify the things you want to do next. Will do better.

Pro Tip: Make “notes to self” for the next morning to inform your design for the day. That future version of myself may always disregard advice, but the continuity of experience is valuable.

Bonus: It’s also important to let go of a bad day or disappointment. Saying “I won’t let this happen again” can be a free act, especially when coupled with a specific plan to make it different.

We really do have a choice in how we view, and approach, retirement. We can make a living out of our jobs and find ourselves relegated to that new status quo, or we can maximize a new phase of life with specialties unique to our own interests and needs. The word “structure” comes from the Latin structure, which means “gather or arrange.” Enjoy designing your ideal retirement day by day – some assembly is required!


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