Top Ten Ways to Stay Active and Involved During the Post Retirement Years

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The retirement years can be the best time of your life. It is a time when you have more flexibility; you’re older, wiser and have a better idea about what you want to do with your life and what is important to you. However, there is a great deal of security with having a predictable job. There are the elements of having a place to go to every weekday at an appointed place and time; the people you work and socialize with, and the compensation you receive for your efforts. All of those elements can disappear when you retire. Here are some strategies to help you adapt to the post retirement years:

1) Don’t retire at all.

Many people are choosing this option today and will find it easier to find employment as our population changes. Over the next decade the number of workers aged 25 – 44 will decrease causing a shortage in the labor market which will make your age and experience an even greater asset and increase employment opportunities for older workers.

2) Work at having a great social life

Increase your social circles; stay connected to people. Make it a habit to make new friends. What are your interests and hobbies? Join a club or association involving those interests and you’ll make friends with whom you can share those same interests. If you’re the shy, retiring type (no pun intended!) take along a friend. However, if you must go solo, volunteer to work with others on a committee where you’ll effortlessly interact with others.

3) Be an event planner

Throw a party. Don’t wait for others to invite you to events; be the one who does the inviting. Don’t be upset if you have to be the one to reach out to others. Reach out to others regardless, you’ll be happier for it and so will your friends.

4) Make your health a priority

When you think about it, the state of your health affects every area of your life. But too many people don’t think about their health until there is a problem. Examine your habits today; will they allow you to live to a ripe old age? Be sure to keep up with your routine annual visits to your doctor for check-ups. In addition, look into techniques for managing your stress such as yoga and deep breathing exercises in order to create an overall sense of well-being.

5) Exercise and stay in shape

Exercise is good for your health. The better you feel, the more you’ll want to keep involved and the better you’ll look. There are countless books on staying in shape. Buy one and get started. It’s not a bad idea to join a gym too!

6) Join a cause greater than yourself

When you make a contribution for the greater good, you will derive a feeling of self-worth and fulfillment. Commit yourself to something that is worthwhile and important to you. You’ll be helping others as well as yourself.

7) Increase your technology know-how

It is imperative that you keep up with the latest computer programs and skills, especially if you do choose to work in an office. There is nothing that will qualify you as an “old dinosaur” more than being behind the times technologically (except possibly the next area).

8) Dress for the 21st Century

Update your look. Hire a fashion consultant at your local boutique or department store if necessary; however, if that’s not an option, here’s an idea that may be helpful. Think of a celebrity or public figure that is similar to you in age and body type who dresses well, and then imitate their style. Also, find a good hairstylist; get referrals from people with great hair cuts that you admire.

9) Fulfill your dreams

What is it that you have always wanted to do, but never seemed to have the time to do it? Many people find that their retirement is the perfect time to explore their dreams and make choices that they didn’t believe were possible in the past. Start out by making a plan for your life. Ask yourself what you would like to see yourself doing in the next 5, 10, 15 years and beyond. Then make up a detailed game plan and go for it!

10) Attitude is everything

Maintain a youthful attitude. By youthful I mean energetic and eager to live each day to the fullest. Don’t buy into the idea that now that you’ve reached a certain age you have to act a certain way. We all know of elderly individuals who look and act much younger than they are. Let their example inspire you to be the same way.

The key to happiness during the retirement years for the majority of us is staying connected to others. Participating in activities that we enjoy, being with people we like and doing things that we feel are worthwhile all combine to make for exciting and fulfilling post retirement years. Implement these strategies now so that when people ask what you’ll do during your retirement, you’ll tell them you’re having so much fun that you haven’t had time to consider it.

Donna Bradshaw is a Career Consultant and Speaker specializing in career development and transition guidance for men and women over 40. She can be reached at Tel: 201-236-1158 or via e-mail at


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