In the midst of all the excitement about retirement lurks an enemy that threatens to derail the golden years: boredom.
Many upcoming retirees look forward to freedom from the daily grind. They envision lazy days with no alarm clocks, deadlines or bosses. Unfortunately, though, they often fail to plan sufficiently for how to spend all that free time.
As a result, boredom creeps in and too often leads to sadness, loneliness and ultimately depression. Social isolation and lack of purpose can be devastating and debilitating for seniors in particular.
Senior depression linked with lack of activity
Many studies support the idea that overall better health outcomes are greater among actively-engaged seniors. A comprehensive research points to a loss of a regular routine as a contributing factor in senior depression:
One of the best ways to prepare for an emotionally healthy retirement is to find a fulfilling hobby.
How to find a meaningful hobby?
- Evaluate your personal interests first. What aspects of your career did you enjoy, and which did you despise? Perhaps you enjoyed researching and writing reports but dreaded event planning. Think about your daily work routine to determine what activities you liked engaging in most.
- Think about your dreams. Your career may have been satisfying, but it may not have fulfilled a dream. Maybe you always dreamed of acting, singing or dancing. Or you’ve always dreamed of writing a novel. You may have long wished to learn another language or experience a new culture. Now is the time to unearth buried dreams.
- Are you an outdoor person? Do you love nature, animals and the wild outdoors? If so, look for hobbies such as walking and hiking groups. Consider volunteering at a local botanical garden, a nearby park, an aquarium or an animal rescue center.
- Are you a people-person? Are you stimulated by groups or do you prefer alone time? Some personalities thrive in large settings with many people while more reserved people prefer quieter social gatherings. You can adjust the type of interactions based on your comfort level as long as you don’t isolate yourself regularly. Seniors thrive both physically and mentally when engaged with others on a regular basis. Finding a hobby with likeminded people can help make and maintain new relationships.
- Are you passionate about a cause? Whether it’s advocating for political change, promoting the needs of underserved children, or fighting for animal rights, take some time to evaluate how you can contribute to something that is meaningful to you. Volunteering offers many seniors the chance to give back to their communities and benefit from the profound reward of helping others in need. Look at churches, synagogues, nonprofit organizations, advocacy groups and community centers for possible volunteer opportunities.
- Consider a part-time job. Doing so helps supplement your retirement savings while simultaneously providing daily social interactions and a purpose. For those who crave routine and like working but do not or cannot work full-time any longer, part-time employment may be ideal. A new job that serves as a hobby by enabling you to engage in work that is emotionally satisfying is ideal.
At Silverman Financial, we appreciate that retirement can be a challenging time. We develop roadmaps to financial security to facilitate meaning, purpose and satisfaction in retirement.