Most of us can’t wait to retire. Who hasn’t daydreamed of relaxing on the beach during a particularly grueling day of work, or sat through a meeting, counting the things you’ll finally have the time to do when you punch the clock for the last time. It’s natural to dream of “what’s next,” and when you’re finally able to say sayonara to your job, you may feel a bit like you’re floating on a cloud of happiness – free to enjoy the good life at last.
However, once that initial rush passes, retirees can face a comedown in a very big way. “It’s a huge leap to go from working every day to never having to go into an office again,” says Angel Van Horn, Community Relations Specialist at Park Manor, the most trusted retirement community in Nashville, TN. “At first, being retired can seem like an extended vacation – and who doesn’t enjoy vacation? However, once you settle into your new normal, the rose-colored glasses come off and seniors can be faced with feelings of hopelessness and lethargy.”
“Humans are creatures of routine and structure, and when that is disrupted it’s a struggle to adjust,” Angel says. “It’s common for new retirees to feel like they’re wasting their time, or bemoan the fact that they’re no longer a productive member of society. This can add up to a feeling that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
But take heart. “The beauty of retirement is that you now have all this time, and you can finally pick up a hobby you’ve let fall by the wayside or start one you’ve always wanted to try,” Angel says. And a ‘hobby’ doesn’t have to be the arts and crafty kind, either. Here are some ideas for hobbies that can keep you productive and happy in your retirement years.
What, you say? Continue working? Didn’t you just quit working? Yes … but you may find, after you’ve been away from the workforce for a little while, that you actually miss it. Not necessarily your exact old job, per se, but there may be some parts that you missed.
“Many retirees go back to work for their company on a contract basis,” says Angel. “It’s the best of both worlds, because the retiree is brought in as a trusted resource and is allowed to use the knowledge he or she has acquired over a full career of work. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about performance reviews or bosses – you’re technically be working for yourself, so you can work as much or as little as you want.” Another option is to find an avenue for training younger employees in your field.
Start a new career
Have you always wanted to go into business as a photographer? Or a handyman? Or something else that you love doing but never were able to figure out how to make it pay the bills? Nearly one in five seniors in their retirement years end up starting a new career. Having a job provides structure and purpose, as well as new challenges and opportunities for socialization. Depending on what you choose to do, you may end up enjoying work more than you did before you retired. According to one study, 78% of people who choose to work in their retirement years find it fulfilling (while only 47% of people who aren’t retired have that feeling). It may surprise you, but the top reason it makes people so happy is not the money: it’s having new experiences, feeling important and getting enjoyment from the work itself.
Volunteer for a cause
Oftentimes, the things that are near and dear to our hearts don’t pay much in terms of actual money. Now that you’re retired, and if money isn’t an issue, you have the opportunity to work in a voluntary role, which can open up all sorts of avenues and have an effect on your happiness. According to a 2015 Merrill Lynch study, seniors (and people in general) who volunteer have a higher self-esteem, have a stronger sense of purpose and are healthier and happier than those who don’t volunteer.
Volunteerism doesn’t have to be for an official non-profit – helping with your grandkids can be a form of service, too. The important thing with any volunteer activity is to only take on responsibilities that make you happy, not that you feel obligated to do. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself dreading it – exactly what you want to avoid.
Pick up a leisure activity
Perhaps the most obvious ‘hobby’ in retirement is seeking out new interests and expanding on old ones. Do you enjoy nature walks? Join a hiking group. Have you always wanted to speak Spanish? Take a language course at a local community college. The opportunities are endless, and limited only by your imagination (and interest).
While it may seem like a lot of work to find happiness in retirement, the good news is that for many people, retirement is the happiest time of their lives. One study found that the majority of seniors who are retired are happy, and 62% of people said their retirement was better than they could have ever imagined.
“At Park Manor, we understand the importance of providing hobbies for our residents to live fulfilled, happy retirements,” says Angel. “By providing a maintenance-free lifestyle and taking care of all the chores and responsibilities, we allow our residents the maximum opportunity to really love their retirement, and love where they live.
Love Where You Live!
Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Do I love where I live?” If you ask that question of the residents of Park Manor, Nashville’s premier retirement community, the answer would be a resounding, “Yes!” For over 50 years, Park Manor has served Nashville’s seniors by providing a community designed to support an active, independent, secure, healthy and worry-free lifestyle. Located on seven spacious acres in the desirable Nashville neighborhood Belle Meade, we’re proud to provide a lifestyle our residents love each and every day.
Park Manor’s approach to senior living is simple: exceed our residents’ expectations. We strive to provide everything you could possibly need and want to live your life the way you choose. At Park Manor, you will enjoy a standard of living reminiscent of a luxury resort – but it’s not a vacation – it’s your lifestyle! This commitment is why we are held in such high regard by our surrounding community and are known as thepremier retirement community offering Independent Living and Assisted Living lifestyles.
For seniors requiring memory care, Park Manor is associated with the prestigious Abe’s Garden® Memory Care Center of Excellence. Abe’s Garden® is committed to transforming the care of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by establishing a national model of residential living and day care programs for those suffering from the disease. Abe’s Garden® provides an unprecedented level of care in addition to a comprehensive array of services and lifestyle options.
At Park Manor, your continued independence is our top priority. Enjoy living life as you choose … in the comfort and privacy of your own apartment, while having the peace of mind of knowing help is available if and when you need it.
For more information, please call 615.997.3030.