How To Embrace Retirement During A Pandemic

“In these uncertain times”—you’ve probably read those four words more times than you can count this year. Whether you’re entering retirement earlier or later than expected, it’s a great idea to hone down exactly what you’d like the rest of your life to be like. Don’t worry, you won’t need to set anything in stone just yet.

Retirement itself comes with its own host of both good and challenging changes. You’ll get to reconnect with your kids as adults, take up new hobbies, or simply relocate to a much warmer climate—Florida anyone?

So if any of the above sound like something you’d be interested in, great news—the team at Duvall Dental Center has put together a couple of tips to help you create your dream retirement even if it’s a little different from what you had planned.

1. Picture, plan, and dream your new life of retirement into existence.

Starting your retirement off with a positive attitude will set you up for a great life away from work. Things may be different now but you can always dream of a better tomorrow. Close your eyes and imagine a time when COVID-19 is no longer a threat. Where do you see yourself on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

Are you sipping coconut water on the beach? Or playing peek-a-boo with the grandkids? Maybe enjoying a game of tennis with your significant other during the day and craps with the old gang at your favorite casino later in the evening?

Take the time to dream of your ideal retirement-cation. Picture yourself in various settings doing the things you love. And once everything is back to normal, you’ll have a clear picture of the kind of future you want.

2. Downsize, donate, and sell your old life.

The first step in embracing a new lifestyle is letting go of the old one, which also means downsizing and donating or selling items you no longer use. Over the years you’ve collected a lot of stuff. Some of these items are practical, while others hold sentimental value.

Use the OHIO (only hold item once) method to sort through clothing, jewelry, kitchenware, and tools. Arranging everything in piles of keep, sell, or donate. And if you’re moving to a smaller house, draw a furniture plan with exact measurements of your new place. It’ll make it easier to identify tables and chairs you won’t need anymore.

Remember you’re trying to sort through belongings bought over a period of more than 20 years so don’t expect to finish in a day or over a weekend. Try and give it at least three months.

3. Find a routine.

Sure, we’re practicing social distancing and spending more time indoors but that doesn’t mean your intended retirement routine should be completely abandoned. Adapt to the new normal and come up with a new active schedule to follow.

Having a plan gives you something to look forward to instead of endless days stretching out before you. It may work out fine in the honeymoon phase but a year or two later boredom will start nipping at your heels.

Whether it’s taking an online Tai Chi class in the morning and meditating in the evenings, knowing what you’ll do beforehand sets the momentum for the rest of the day.

4. Try new things after retirement.

In the spirit of creating a new routine, we would also like to encourage you to experience new things. Particularly if your job involved doing something you loved, retirement can feel more like a punishment than a reward for all your hard work. A great way to get those endorphins flowing is to get out of your comfort zone and try new things.

We’re not saying you start rollerblading to the farmers market (unless you want to) but begin from a point of interest and explore alternative options. For instance, if you love playing tennis you can try learning badminton or even table tennis.

Do your interests lie in more academic pursuits? Enroll in an online class or start a book club with your other retirement buddies. That way you’ll keep your brain active while also staying socially connected.

5. Spend more time in nature after retirement.

If you take away anything from this article let it be this—try to spend more time outdoors. Sure, we’re in the midst of a pandemic but most states regard outdoor recreational time as an essential activity. Just make sure you’re six feet apart from passersby and only do group activities with those in your household.

Embracing a retirement that’s very different from what you had planned starts with redefining your initial dreaming. Finding out exactly what it is you want, then deciding what to do with your old life. Whether it’s donating, downsizing, or selling your belongings, two things remain true for all retirees: firstly, you’ll have a very different daily routine and secondly, experiencing new things will be a regular thing.