How Can I Enjoy Retirement? | A Practical Guide


Retirement should all be about enjoying yourself. And perhaps you’re asking yourself, how can I enjoy retirement? Well, I’m here to help you out!

To enjoy your retirement, you need to;

  1. Have something to retire to
  2. Stay healthy
  3. Make time to relax
  4. Nurture positive relationships
  5. Explore new activities
  6. Have a hobby
  7. Be present
  8. Find a passion
  9. Learn to enjoy the little things
  10. Be aware of what you give your energy to
  11. Learn from other retirees

In this article, I’ll tell you everything about how you can enjoy your retirement in the best way possible. 

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#1 Have Something To Retire To

Perhaps you’ve worked in the same job all your life, or maybe you had several jobs during your career. Either way, most people identify themselves with their jobs. It’s ‘who you are.’

It’s completely normal to feel that way because what we do in Western society is more important than who we are as a person. Especially at introductions. You only have to look at parties or events where you are introduced to new people. A common question is always, “What do you do?” Referring to your job. 

People never ask, “What’s your passion in life?” if they want to get to know you. Strange, don’t you think? 

Maybe, the question ‘what’s your passion’ is just too personal. It’s probably easier to ask what someone is doing for a living instead of what this person loves to do most. But what are you going to answer when you’re retired?

I know, the answer “I’m Retired,” is probably a good one, but the follow-up question will be something like ‘what do you do with your time?’ or ‘Do you enjoy retirement?’ 

Of course, it’s not about all about answering these questions, but thinking about these conversations can help you understand why it’s important to have something to retire to. 

It’s just that simple. You’ll stop working after several years, and if you don’t have a passion or things to do that, you love. How can you possibly enjoy retirement?

Most retirees regret that they didn’t have something to retire to. They were overwhelmed with the endless free time once they retired and struggled how to enjoy retirement. 

When you’re planning your retirement, you need to have thoughts about what you want to do in retirement. Because how do you know when you’re financially ready for retirement if you don’t know how you want to spend your time? You need a bigger budget when you want to go traveling in retirement versus doing volunteer work. 

So it also helps with your financial planning to have some sort of idea on how you want to spend your time in retirement. 

It doesn’t mean you need to have it figured out day-to-day daily. But visualizing about life in retirement and putting ideas and plans on a bucket or wish list helps you to mentally prepare for retirement. And you’ll have something to look forward too once your retirement date is happening. 

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#2 Stay Healthy

Health is Wealth. So if you’re not healthy or have health problems, you’re not able to enjoy your retirement. And that’s why you need to stay on track when it comes to your health. 

You want to make sure you eat healthily, you sleep well, you exercise regularly, and you strengthen your immune system. 

A combination of staying physically, mentally, and socially active in retirement is a great way to take care of your body, brain, and emotional well-being. And helps you to enjoy your retirement as long as possible. 

Learn more: How To Stay Active In Retirement

#3 Make time to relax

You’ve worked very hard to be able to retire. And therefore, you need to allow yourself to relax as well. Make time to relax and unwind regularly, and create moments to be unproductive. It’s good for you. 

Take enough breaks during projects and activities and don’t fall in the trap of the pressure of being productive all the time. Reconnecting with yourself will make you better equipped to deal with more challenging periods.

Retirement is about relaxing, less stress, and enjoying leisure. You don’t have to replace all your work activities with activities in retirement. Finding the right balance in doing activities and just relaxing helps you to enjoy retirement. 

#4 Nurture positive relationships

The quality of your relationships also determines the quality of your life. You become most like the people you spend the most time with. So you want to make sure you spend your well-earned time in retirement with the people you like most and enjoy having in your life. 

And therefore, you need to identify the people who lift you up and focus your energy on them. It’s okay to be selective with whom you want to spend time in your retired life.  

Also, once you retire, you lose the daily social interactions that came with the job. It’s important to replace these social interactions with new interactions. Because being lonely is just as unhealthy as smoking. 

And you can do this by fostering and building your relationships with people you already like. Or seek new ways to be social. You can find new ways to be social in my article: 20 Ways How To Stay Social After Retirement.

#5 Explore new activities

Retirement is a new chapter in your life, and it will be a waste if you don’t use this time to explore new activities. Try out new things and see if you like it. Because you never know if you enjoy something if you don’t try it. 

Also, getting out of your comfort zone is the quickest way to grow as a person and learn more about yourself. It’s often the place where the ‘Magic’ happens and where you will feel most alive. And the feeling of being alive is usually the place where you can find joy. 

“Discomfort is the currency to your dreams.”

Applying for a class is a great way to explore a new activity and learn something new. Because you want to keep learning in life to create better and new experiences for yourself. And I’ve got the perfect class for you: Masterclass. 

MasterClass is an online education platform with the world’s most successful and famous teachers: Gordon Ramsey, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Chin, Serena Williams, Dan Brown, etc. 

Masterclass offers classes (for any skill level) from cooking, acting, writing, poker, gardening, music, sports to science, and so much more, taught by the best in the world. All accessible from the comforts of your home. Check out all the Masterclasses available here.

#6 Have a hobby

Successfully retiring means, you replace your work activities with new activities that you enjoy doing. And an activity you enjoy is a hobby. 

Perhaps you already have a hobby that you can finally spend more time on in retirement, or you have to find a new hobby. 

BLS study has shown that people between the age of 65-74 reallocate only about 15 percent of their day (2,5 hours) from activities like work to activities they choose to do (leisure). They spent more time on activities like running errands, shopping, household activities, and watching TV or scrolling the internet aimlessly.

To enjoy your retirement, you might want to allocate more than 2,5 hours per day on leisure activities. 

You can learn more about finding a retirement hobby in my article: How To Get A Retirement Hobby

A great way to explore new hobbies in retirement is with Cratejoy. You get a Crate of Joy each month with a new (creative) projects to do in retirement. From crafts, to books, wellness, home-decor, self-care, cooking, drinks, recipes to other Crates of Joy.


The Adults & Crafts Crate

#7 Be present

You can’t enjoy life now if your mind is in the past or future. Often feelings of anxiety, tension, stress, worry are caused by mentally being in the future. And feelings of guilt, regret, resentment, and sadness are caused by mentally being in the past. 

To enjoy your retired life and find happiness, you need to be in the present moment. Because it’s the only place where it truly exists. 

Practicing mindfulness is a way to learn to live in the present. And have more present moments during your day where you’re able to enjoy life as it is now. Being more mindful of everything you do in life will make you enjoy life better. 

Ways to learn how to practice mindfulness:

#8 Find a passion

 Finding your passion helps you to better enjoy your retirement. Knowing what your passion is, and creating activities around it is an important step in the five stages of retirement. Stages that almost every retiree has to deal with when they retire. These five stages in retirement end with finding your passion and enjoying your retirement. 

When you want to learn more about the five stages in retirement, you might want to read my article, What Are The Five Stages Of Retirement? where I explain these stages step-by-step. 

Finding your passion can be challenging. It’s possible that you’re not used to asking yourself ‘difficult’ questions about the things you love to do most. Don’t worry, it’s actually quite simple. As long as you stay honest and real with yourself. 

Here are some tips that can help you find your passion in your (retired) life. You can start with asking yourself questions like; 

  • What would I regret NOT doing in life?
  • What are the topics I can read 500 books about and not get bored?
  • What gives me satisfaction and happiness?
  • What gives me energy and exciting feeling?

Simple questions that can give important answers on how to spend your time in retirement. 

There’s a lot more you can do to find your passion. For example, think back to your childhood. Before you got in the pressure of going to college or finding that (high) paying job. What was it that you were passionate about as a kid? You might find your passion when answering that question. 

When you find it challenging to find your passion, I recommend reading my article, “14 Tips on How To Find Your Passion.” This article is a hands-on guide that’s proven to be very helpful. 

#9 Learn to enjoy the little things

When we think about how to enjoy life, we probably think about huge accomplishments and overwhelming highs. But that means that you only enjoy life at very little moments in life because achieving something big doesn’t happen every day. For example, that means you can only be happy on vacation. Once a year. Doesn’t sound right, right?

True happiness is not a place or far away destination to arrive at, but it’s the journey of traveling. It’s embracing the little things such as a good cup of coffee, a nice gourmet meal, a sunny or even a beautiful rainy day, a nice sunrise or sunset. 

It doesn’t mean that your life has to be perfect to experience joy. You find enjoyment in accepting and experiencing life as it is now. With where you are and who you are. 

And to enjoy the little things you need to practice gratitude. Because once you get better at being grateful, you can enjoy the little things in life better. And find joy in everyday retired life. 

To learn to be more grateful, you can keep a gratitude journal

#10 Be aware of what you give your energy to

Energy flows where attention grows. 

Be selective in what and who you want to put your energy in. Whatever you give your attention the most will grow and become a bigger part of your life. And also determines the quality of your life. Value what you give your energy and time to. 

To enjoy life in retirement, you need to put your energy and attention towards things and people you enjoy. It’s as simple as that. 

Perhaps it means that you need to rethink your daily schedule and your social circle. You can keep a list of how much time you spend on certain things and see if you spend your time wisely. If you spend the most time on things you do not enjoy, you have to reallocate your time towards things you do enjoy. It can be a shift in your daily activities, but a shift for the better. 

It also means that you have to be aware of your thoughts. If your mind often runs off to negative thoughts, you will experience a negative view on life as well. Be extremely careful about what you allow yourself to think. Try to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts, and you will experience a huge shift in the quality of your life. 

Mindfulness will help you to be aware of your thoughts, but reading a practical book about how to transform your thoughts will give you that extra help that you need.

You can read the book Get Out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts to learn more about transforming your thoughts.

#11 Learn From Other Retirees

It can also be very helpful to look at what your (retired) friends are doing as a hobby or during their free time. 

For me, my father is very inspirational. 

My dad is retired for over more than 10 years, and he has never been bored. He’s always busy with something. Every day it’s something else. And sometimes, he’s just doing nothing. Reading a book, or looking at the birds in the garden. 

What we all can learn from his activities is that you don’t have to be scared to try something new or doing the things you love to do. 

Retirement is all about you. It’s your time. You’ve worked long enough, so let’s enjoy it! And honestly, when you step out of your comfort zone once in a while, you’ll experience the best things in life! 

My dad even visited us during our travel adventure in the Kingdom of Tonga. For us, it was a trip to the other end of the world because we’re living in The Netherlands. Our goal was to swim with the Humpback Whales, a long-cherished dream. It was one of the best experiences of our lives! And my dad? 

The almost 70 years old retiree also jumped in the open ocean, with a wetsuit and snorkel, to explore these amazing creatures. Something we all had never done before. 

What I’m trying to say is that you’re never too old to make your dreams come true. And maybe your retirement is the perfect time for doing so. 

I know it is easier said than done. Especially when you’re not used to having so much free time on your hands. Keep in mind that retirement is the time where you can enjoy everything you do. And to get inspired you can read my article: 101 Ways To Enjoy Life In Retirement

Staying Active Helps To Enjoy Retirement

When we summarize the helpful tips that I shared above, we can say that one of the most important things in retirement is to stay active. When you look at inspirational sources on why staying active is important, we can learn a lot of the people that live in the world’s famous Blue Zones.

Blue Zones are the areas in the world where most centenarians live, people that reach the age of 100+ in a healthy way. There are different Blue Zones in the world, probably the two most famous are Okinawa in Japan and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica.

The lifestyle of people living in the blue zones is similar, what we can learn from their way of living when focus on how to enjoy your retirement is this. Lifestyle in the blue zones are roughly based on these three elements;

  • Low Stress
  • Healthy Diets
  • Moderate Daily Activity (both physical and socially)

It’s interesting to read more about the Blue Zones, I can recommend reading this book;

Physical and Social Activity

According to this article, the CDC recommends at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercises a week, and two times a week muscle-strengthening activities, for elderly people. According to the CDC physical activity helps with healthy aging. It prevents common health problems that are age-related.

So, when you’re around 65 years it might be a good idea to follow up on the CDC recommendations. Physical activity can be anything from swimming, hiking, working in the garden. When you’re struggling with finding a new activity, you might want to read my article ‘How Can I Stay Active In Retirement?where I share 30 different ideas.

Did you know that, according to Harvard Health Publishing, staying socially active is also very important? They say that many different social interactions and engagement are also related to healthy aging. Luckily many physical activities can easily be done within a group or several people, so this way, you can benefit from both physical and social activity.

Recommended Articles

I truly hope that this article was helpful for you and that you found the right inspiration on how to enjoy your retirement. You still might have other questions that are related to your (upcoming) retirement. I wrote many different articles that can be helpful for you and you might find useful to read;

Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my boyfriend Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. With my articles, I want to help people enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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