When thinking about retirement, you’ll need to consider how you will replace the social connection that paid employment provides.
Even if you are planning to work part time when you first retire, you will have to stop paid work completely at some point, (or most of us will).
Work provides a lot of the spontaneous social contact that keeps us socially healthy and connected. Surveys of retirees have found that missing the camaraderie at work is one of the most common reasons for people feeling their retirement ‘glow’ has faded.
Things to think about:
Continuing to work
- Do you want to continue working in some fashion, such as part time, casual, one-off jobs, contracting, coaching/mentoring?
- As you start planning your wind-down at work, talk to your employer about potential flexible work options.
- Are there training opportunities you could take advantage of while still at work that would open up options for flexible working when the time comes?
If you can’t, or don’t want to do paid work
Consider volunteering or getting more involved with the activities you’re already involved in. New challenges and increased social connection could come through joining the committee of your club, church, cultural group, rather than just being a member, or offering to help organise events or activities.
Find a passion project
Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but never had the opportunity? It is likely there are others in your community with similar interests. Community centres and community Facebook pages are great places to start looking for groups who might share your interests. Make sure some of your activities include other people.
Are you interested in social change?
There are many organisations locally and nationally that are working towards positive social, political, environmental and cultural change. Is there a topic you are interested in that you could get more involved in?
Think about how often in a week you connect with people in your workplace, and try to replicate some of this with other activities.