6 months into retirement

I retired 6 months ago after working 48 years full-time in a very stressful profession. I even cashed in annual leave and LSL on occasions so work was my priority. I have been feeling a little lost since retiring.

I tried the gym in the first month but got sick of having to wipe the equipment down during covid and the lockdowns didn't help either so didn't go anymore.

I have been staying up longer at night and getting up later where I am missing half the day.

Where I use to dress in a corporate wardrobe, I am now not even bothering to put on makeup and just lounge around all day. I just think I have become totally lazy and worryingly starting to like it.

I am financially comfortable but is it a good thing to become more reclusive in retirement and feel more relaxed about yourself and sleep more or will this lead to an unhealthy future?

I am about to commence 1 day a week volunteer work which I forced myself to apply for so maybe that might motivate me to get out of the house that I seem to be hibernating in but enjoying.

So am I weird or just slowing things down my way?

Comments for 6 months into retirement

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Not Weird
by: Canadian Retiree

I would say that slowing things down after retirement is the norm. I started out my retirement trying to fill in as many activities as possible and then realized one day, that I was overdoing it. Of course this was pre-covid.

I tried a volunteer job but was not in the right frame of mind for it. I actually started regretting retiring and made a couple of attempts to return to my job. However, it didn't work, too much time had passed by.

I had to accept the past is the past and move on. It's been tough. I took a long time to adjust.

What really helped was enrolling in art lessons, water colour painting, drawing and getting out and exercising with a group. I now exercise on my own at home due to Covid restrictions. I just kind of got out sync with joining a group.

Things are opening up again, but I've been in no rush to go back. I know what you mean about getting lazy and not wanting to get dressed up like you did when you worked. I do get dressed up sometimes and go to the mall. It makes me feel better.

It sounds like you are the right track. Keep taking it one day at a time. It does get easier.

by: Carol from West Chester

Hi, I have been retired since 2011. With a one plus year of lockdown I have become unable to sleep at night. 3am and still tossing and turning. Got up and played crosswords on the computer. Just got up at 3pm and showered, dressed. It is horrible. I mentioned it to my doctor and she did not suggest anything except due to lack of activity. Same for my not eating except one meal a day, and even that I have to force myself.

I just refroze my membership at the gym. At least two people in my exercise group refuse to get vaccinated. I have my shots and I don't want to get any of covid. After my 2nd shot I had 5 days of being sick and that was just mild.

I understand or at least feel understanding of your concern about sleep. Can you go out to a garden or a park? I now have to force myself to go outside.

This is not the retirement I envisioned for myself. Please keep yourself up, makeup and dressed for the day. I didn't and now I am struggling to bring myself back to feeling better about myself.

The doctor has up my depression meds hoping that will bring me back to a happier place. I increased the pill by 5mg, not a lot. However, I do not think medication is the best way to heal myself.

Today I am going to force myself to drive to a local fresh veggie stand and buy fresh veggies and fruit. Once I started sliding downhill, as in isolating lockdown, the slide continues to go downwards.

You are just starting. Volunteering is a great idea. I tried volunteering before the lockdown and did not feel needed there so I stopped. Hope your volunteer experience is better than mine. In my younger years I volunteered and enjoyed sharing my time with others. I also worked and was with the public.

This year is unsettling, vaccine, friends without vaccine. Sleep is a mess, too much tv. Not enough social life for me.

I believe my point is try to find your normal life before it slips away.

I gave up and now I am trying to regain my life of day trips, friends going out to lunch, and a better outlook on life.

by: JS

If your health is good and you are financially secure, making good use of your time can be the most troubling aspect of retirement. You are experimenting by choosing to volunteer. That's good. Sometimes we have to try several avenues before we find the right path.

by: Laura in Vermont

After 48-hour weeks and corporate dress and stress, you are allowed to sleep in if that's what you want!

Seriously, you've been well trained to be productive and active. Now that it's not necessary, you may feel you ought to do more than you're doing. Right now is time to experiment.

The volunteer gig is a great idea. You may not need makeup for it. Try skipping it. You no longer need the corporate look.

Too bad about the gym, but you can do stuff at home and walk the neighborhood. You might meet people or see new things you missed while working.

If leisure really isn't working for you, start a hobby or a business at home, or get a dog to depend on you and keep you company.

You're in a good place for someone who's been retired for 6 months. Have fun with it! Two years in I still think it was the thing to do.

My way
by: Cindi H, Ohio

You are just easing into retirement your way. I caught up on a lot of sleep the first year of my retirement, then when back to being an early riser again. The funny thing is that I can now stay up really late, get up early and still be fully rested.

Being on your own helps you recognize what you want out of your future. I thought that getting rid of the goal oriented work life was the hardest for me.

If I just puttered around for most of the day it was hard not to be able to list my accomplishments.

Finally realized I was in a different place altogether and I did not need to have X number of things done before noon every day. If I didn't run an errand today, there was always tomorrow.

You say you are enjoying this, so don't overthink it. You may like the volunteer op. You may decide it's not that interesting.

Do try to think of things you might like to learn. I've taken time to learn several different musical instruments - something I had no time for while working. (not all of them at one time obviously)

As long as you are enjoying your days, keep doing it your way. Things will change with time and you may find yourself getting involved with other people at different periods.

This is a really sane way to live! Enjoy!

I Retired Four Months Ago
by: Linda/FL

I think the first year is a big adjustment. I decided early on that I would just allow myself to rest, regroup, reflect, and recover from years and years of a stressful job. I will share what I learned so far.

I am tired. I don't get as much done as I thought I would in terms of de-cluttering the house. As an introvert in the midst of Covid it hasn't been problematic for me to stay in, so I read and watch movies or a current series I'm viewing.
Currently I am going through a Jane Austen phase.

I have somewhat of a morning routine of breakfast, walking, and my morning meditation/ prayer. It feels good. I enjoy looking at our yard, watching the birds, and being still.

I have given myself to take this first year to get to know myself in this new stage of life and am committed to not taking on any new responsibilities or making any major decisions.

Thus, when I start becoming a little restless or wanting change I remind myself that I am in transition and there will be no major decisions for awhile.

I am being gentle with myself.

No worries
by: Bob Midwest

I read your post and everything seems normal to me. I've been retired 5+ years now.

The first year I picked up freelance work, because I felt I needed to keep busy. And then I volunteered. But then I fell into the swing of things, and just started to enjoy my free time.

Now, my goal is to have as little responsibility as possible, yet enjoy my hobbies and interests. I worked for 40+ years and now I get to live the way I want. I think retirement is a more natural way to live.

Enjoy! Do what you want. No worries.

What you're describing is common
by: Elliott

Retirement is a big change. Get an agenda and plan each day. Look for courses and lectures at local libraries and community centers. Decide on a project and fo it. Write your memoirs. The first 6 months are the hardest.

6 months in
by: Anonymous

Oh, you make me smile.

I think you are NOW living healthy and before we’re living unhealthy. No need to force a doggone thing. Just keep your eyes open for little things you might enjoy tipping your toe in to see if you might like it for a minute or 2.

Obligations are horrible in my opinion.
This year my motto is ‘effortlessness reigns’.

Just my decision - let me know how it goes for you.

YOU are now the priority!
by: Michael - Upstate NY for the summer!

From what you have written, it sounds like work was the number one priority in your life. Now, you have all of this time, but are unsure what to do.

Think about what you would like to do now. You have one day of volunteer work, so that is a start. Schedule something for each of the other days. Even if it is something as simple as a morning walk each day, grocery shopping, etc. Going to bed at the same time and rising at the same time each day can also help.

Each day is special, so shower each day and dress for the activity of the day. You'll transition to a new wardrobe, but keep the corporate clothes for a while in case you need to dress for a special event. I like to wear long sleeves when mowing the lawn, so those old work shirts have come in handy!

You will find your way and figure out what works for you. There is no right or wrong way to spend your time.

While work may have been your priority in the past, YOU are now the number one priority in your life!

6-months in
by: Jeanne Savelle/Atlanta

Give yourself time to adjust. After 48 years of action, you need some time to make this transition.

Most people don't plan for anything but finances when retiring so end up not understanding what's going on. Know that you will come through this just fine like you have with other transitions if you take care of yourself.

This can be the most exciting time in your life. Think about the time you have now to get involved in passions that you have put off. Find what you love and go do it.

The world is waiting for you.

by: Leaking Ink/MA

As a former workaholic, it’s perfectly fine to allow yourself to relax for a little while.

When you’ve had enough of that, trust that your workaholic self will get you back on track—as it obviously is starting to do right about now.

You probably just needed to re-learn how to relax and just be. Now allow yourself to explore new things, and to discover what you might like to do, and what you might want to discard after trying it out for some time.

You’re doing well.
Don’t fret about it.
Let it unfold.

Whatever you do, don’t allow yourself to sit around watching TV during the day. That’s a huge red flag that should serve as your personal early warning alert system.

Best wishes to you. Enjoy the journey!

by: Carol, Canada

I am the same. I hated retirement at first, I did not take to it well. Now after 2 1/2 years I am fine with it.

I don't dress anymore either. Been wearing my pyjamas since I retired. I dress only to walk the dog. Come home and put my pyjamas back on. I try to stay up late like you but I tend to fall asleep in any position. I find I don't look after myself as much when I worked, I would dress up and do my hair every day. Not any more.

Going to start going back to the gym soon as my dog died today and without him, I will never get any exercise. I like doing lot \s of things but just got comfortable being at home now. IN my nest, ha, ha.

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