Living at your own pace

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When you retire, the pace of life changes. You're no longer hurriedly getting ready every morning, braving peak hour or rushing to meet deadlines. You're not 'busy with work'.

This change of pace and sense of 'unbusyness' is a natural part of retirement. It's a great thing for many people, yet it can also be a big adjustment.

As with any major life change, retirement can pose mental health challenges. Many new retirees find it challenging to no longer have the 'sense of purpose' that comes with working and feel like they need to 'keep busy'.

Don't rush to fill in your time

While you might hear other retirees raving about how busy they are, remember that you can set your retirement days at your own pace.

You may have more 'free' time, but it's important to carefully consider what you really want to do before rushing in just to fill your days.

Once you commit to something, whether it's volunteering or taking part in a social activity, you might be expected to continue that commitment regularly. Trialling a new activity first can be a good way to see if it's really fulfilling you and fits in with your new life.

Take time to achieve your goals

If someone asked you about your goals, dreams and desires, it's unlikely you'd reply that you 'just want to be busy'. There will be goals you want to accomplish and new challenges you want to undertake, and it's possible to do these at your own pace. Removing the idea of needing to be busy and finding a sense of accomplishment and control can help maintain happiness during retirement.

Research shows that finding purpose, whether it be upskilling or exploring a new hobby, is a major motivator of what you do during retirement and is known to be a strong protector against mental health challenges. SuperFriend's Planning for a Mentally Healthy Retirement report shows 'finding purpose' is a positive aspect to retirement that reduces stress, which in turn can increase your life expectancy.

So with more time up your sleeve, pace yourself.

Set boundaries

People often think retirees have all the time in the world, including their own children. Many look after their grandchildren during the week and love the time spent with the little ones. However, it's important to place boundaries around those time commitments, explaining to your children that there are other things you'd like to pursue as well. This idea of setting boundaries also applies to other areas of your life; take control over where your time is being spent.

Create an action plan

If you feel like you're too busy, beyondblue recommends using action plans to help you achieve your goals, just as you may have done at other times in your life. By making a plan, you can schedule your time to enjoy interests and accomplish goals without feeling stressed or rushed.

To read more about SuperFriend's Planning for a Mentally Healthy Retirement report, visit If you're having difficulty adjusting to retirement or you just want to talk to someone, beyondblue is ready to provide support, service and advice at 1300 22 4636.

This article has been supplied by SuperFriend