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Conquering Loneliness in Retirement

Conquering loneliness once you’ve retired has its challenges.

Many people say that it just takes time to fill the void in your life. Allowing yourself time to relax when you first retire, and not worry about what it is you should be doing will allow you time to eventually find your own way.

Most retirees nowadays have a really strong identity through their working life. Your careers have meant so much to you for many, many years and stopping work can be really scary, and it can leave a big gap.

Loneliness in Retirement

When you retire you’ll likely feel an array of emotions. These emotions will be both positive and negative. In the initial stages of retirement people can feel lonely, sad, and generally down.

People in early stages of retirement feel lonely for many reasons. Often it’s because they’ve spent much of their time interacting with people at work, and those people are not around day in and day out anymore.

Now you’ve not only stopped engaging as often with people, you may also feel like you don’t know what to do with your time. Suddenly you have an extra 40 hours per week to fill up.

You might live far away from your family and you could be a single person too. You might struggle to make friends outside of the work environment, and feel that you’re really lacking human connection.

There are many ways to conquer loneliness during retirement, to avoid feeling alone forever.

Forming Relationships During Retirement

Socialising will not only improve your mental health, but your physical health and overall well-being too.

A suggestion for you during retirement is to go back to study. You might have always wanted to learn a language, or take on the challenge of completing your PHD. Whatever your interests, there are always opportunities for lifelong learning.

Whether it’s at your local library, local council, or university, retirement is the time to truly pursue your interests.  In most cases, the learning environment offers the opportunity to mingle with others again, this time outside of the work environment.

What is the Point?

Having a sense of purpose is important to everyone, and being retired certainly doesn’t mean that life is over. Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to retire. You find what’s purposeful for you and go forward with it.

Get Educated

As previously suggested, education might give you the sense of purpose that you’ve been looking for. You might do volunteer teaching or you could be the student. It doesn’t matter. Doing what you love is the point.

Also consider The University of the Third Age. There’s no academic requirements for you to enrol.  It simply promotes learning for enjoyment and interest.  You can pursue many different interests from history to photography, to science & technology.

Spend Time With Family

Many people look forward to spending extra time with their children and grandchildren when they retire. They might feel a real sense of purpose by helping out with the grandkids, or just being there more than previously able to.

If you’re fortunate enough to have family around you, being able to call in and have a coffee or a meal with a family member might be something that you haven’t been able to do for years. You could even enjoy cooking a meal for you children and taking it over to share with them. Or you might want to arrange a family holiday for you all to enjoy.

Volunteer

I know many retirees who enjoy volunteering. This not only gives them a sense of purpose for paying it forward, but it also offers the ability to make friendships and human connections at the same time.

Some places that you might like to volunteer include Surf lifesaving, the Rotary Club, the Lions Club, Meals on Wheels, Life Line, the Red Cross, your local hospital, or even residential aged care. At the end of the day, think about where you’d like to help, and give them a call.

Build a Business

I have a friend who set up her own business when she retired. The intention wasn’t to have a business. It just became that way. She pursued making wind chimes and started selling her pieces at the markets. She now has a great little business that supplements her pension. It keeps her busy, and she gets to meet people when she’s running a stall at the markets.

If you’ve got one of the many retirees with the travel bug, you could always think about having a little business blogging about about your adventures.

man and woman on the beach

Travel

For a lot of us, we dream of travelling when we retire. If you’ve got the travel bug that is great. There are so many places to explore both here in Australia and abroad. But you’ll need to watch the dollars and cents. Travel can be hugely expensive. Doing your research is important.

On another note, if you’re alone you might have a friend that would like to travel with you. Or you could meet people while you’re travelling.

Remember that you’re in control of your future. Think about what you want to do, and pursue it. You don’t have to fear change. Reinvent yourself and go for it.

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