“Some people get really stressed out, because it does seem final,” Eweka says of retirement. “Consider working part time to have less employment and more free time so you can ease yourself into it.”
Take retirement for a test-drive
You may want to take your vision of retirement out for a test-drive before you quit work, Eweka says. Consider spending a two-week vacation doing what you hope to do in retirement, such as playing golf, traveling, volunteering or looking after the grandkids. If you’re planning to move to another area, you might rent a home there for a few weeks, if possible. You may discover that the reality meets or exceeds your expectations. If not, you can alter your plans before you commit, Eweka says.
Also consider how you’ll replace the social interactions you get from work. People with strong social connections tend to be happier, healthier and live longer. You can invest in existing relationships before and after retirement by spending more time with family and friends. O’Neill recommends setting designated days and times to regularly connect, either in person or by phone or video call.
But aging also means you’ll be losing connections as people die or move away. Volunteering, joining community organizations or just getting to know your neighbors better can help you build relationships with new people, O’Neill says. The companionship of a dog, cat or other pet also can contribute to well-being.