How Can I Keep My Retirement Busy? 26 Inspiring Ideas


How Can I Keep My Retirement Busy? It is a question many retirees ask themself once they’re retired. Staying busy in retirement can be challenging. It takes a while to adjust to an open schedule. But I’m here to help you out.

If you want to keep yourself busy in retirement, you need to plan activities for your retirement that are fulfilling and joyful to do. Ensure that you plan how you want to spend time in retirement and allow yourself to relax. It’s important to find the right balance between activities and relaxing so that you can enjoy your retirement in the best way possible.

In this article, you’ll find 26 creative and helpful ideas on how you can keep your retirement busy. I’ll also share some information about the importance of staying busy in retirement. Ready to find out more? Let’s dig in!

Just a heads up, this post contains some affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Purchases you make through these links may earn us a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

1) Start Writing A Book

Writing a book is a great way to stay busy. If you love writing, this can be your new activity in retirement. You can either write a novel, write your memoirs, or start a family history book.

Many retirees like to write a family history book so they can pass it on to the next generation. Maybe you have an attic filled with boxes with photos, scraps, and letters you want to organize. If you don’t have the inspiration right away, you can go through all the photos, and the memories to find inspiration.

When you’re an inexperienced writer or want to improve your writing skills, I recommend joining the MasterClass platform. On the MasterClass platform, you can learn from the most successful, experienced, and famous people worldwide. When it comes to writing, you will have the opportunity to follow courses from Malcolm Gladwell, Judy Blume, and many other famous writers. Access to the MasterClass platform is available with an Annual Membership. Get yours here!

2) Find a (new) Hobby

With all the free time on your hand, you want to stay busy with things that make you happy. Finding a (new) hobby is a good way to stay busy during your retirement. Rediscover the old hobbies you use to like as a kid or find a new hobby that gets’ you excited waking up every morning.

When you’re exploring new hobbies you can do to keep your retirement busy, it’s important not to limit yourself in things you can do. Often people think that they’re to old to do something, or it doesn’t fit their lifestyle anymore. That’s possible, of course, but you know what the fun thing of being retired is? You can do everything you like!

I would recommend transforming the things you like to do, into a hobby. When you find it challenging to answer the question of what you like to do, you might ask yourself things like;

  • What is a stress reliever for me?
  • How would I describe my perfect day in retirement?
  • What is the thing I never get bored of?

The above questions help you to determine what you love doing in retirement. If you need more help finding a retirement hobby, I recommend reading my article, How To Get A Retirement Hobby. I’ll share several helpful tips in this article that you can read here.

3) Get A Monthly Arts & Craft Subscription from Cratejoy

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When you love to keep yourself busy in retirement with arts & crafts projects but not sure where to start, the Cratejoy Subscription Box is perfect for you!

The crafts box is carefully curated. Every month is a different craft to allow you to learn a new craft technique like wood burning and engraving. Create beautiful products like wine carriers, epoxy resin coasters, & more! The Adults & Crafts Box from Cratejoy is one of the most popular subscription boxes on the Cratejoy platform.

4) Start Gardening

One of the most favorite things to stay busy among retirees is gardening. It’s a very healthy way to spend your retirement time. It’s good for your body and mind. It’s an excellent exercise for your body and healthy for your mind because of the benefits of gardening. Gardening reduces stress, grows your self-esteem, improves hand strength, and you will sleep better because you’ve spent enough time outdoors.

If you don’t have a garden, don’t worry! There are plenty of opportunities for gardening within your home or balcony. A trendy way of gardening for people without a garden is to start with vertical gardening or start a herbs garden in a small box on your balcony.

At the start of this article, I mentioned the MasterClass platform as an opportunity to improve your writing skills. But did you know you can also follow a unique course about Gardening on the MasterClass platform?

Ever heard of Ron Finley? He’s not only known as an LA-based fashion designer but also widely known as a promoter of Urban Gardening. His TedTalk about Urban Gardening has over 1 million views on YouTube. And his course about Urban Gardening is on the most popular courses on the MasterClass platform.

5) Start a Business

If you like to stay busy and earn some extra money during your retirement, you can start a new business. Now, you have the time to pursue a dream and become an entrepreneur where you can have flexible hours and be your own boss.

Before starting a business, you want to consider a couple of steps: what are the start-up costs, what are the financial risks you need to know about, you want to research the viability of your business, and learn about any local, state, or federal regulations.

If you consciously go through these steps, you have a better understanding of what your business should be and if you want to pursue it before wasting your well-deserved retirement time. After these steps, you can set a goal and start creating financial and marketing plans to start with your business.

These are businesses that don’t require a lot of start-up money: blogging, tutoring, coaching, errand running, planning, or organizing events. You can open an Etsy shop and start selling online. I will explore some of these business opportunities in the next chapters of this article.

When you already know what you want to do as an entrepreneur, but need help with the formation of your business I recommend using Zen Business. Zen Business helps you with everything to set up your business, so you can focus on the things you love doing as an entrepreneur.

6) Become a Mentor or Coach

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Passing on all your experience, tips, and tricks within your field or just life in general to the next generation is a productive way to stay busy during your retirement. It’s a good feeling to pay it forward and spread your knowledge and ideas. Many retirees become a part-time coach at their former company so that they can help out new employees.

If you like to help out others making choices and find their purpose, you can also become a life coach. This way you can not only pass on your professional experience but also the experience you have with life. Growing as a person is something that happens over time, and many people can use some help with that.

When you looking to improve your coaching skills, I recommend visiting Coach Training Alliance. A worldwide platform where you can learn from other, more experienced coaches.

7) Start Blogging

Suppose you love to write about specific topics you might consider starting a blog. You can start a blog as a hobby or with a business in mind. A successful blog can be financially beneficial, but it is also a lot of work. If you want to start a blog as a business, there’s much more to it than pick a topic and start writing.

So, if you just want to write for fun about, let’s say, your adventures in retirement, you can easily start a personal blog. You can write about your new experiences, and things you do as a retiree. But if you’re looking to earn some money with it, I recommend doing some research first before deciding about your topic.

When you are serious about blogging, I recommend taking a look at the website of Income School. They can teach you everything about becoming a successful blogger and creating a full-time income with your blog.

8) Start Reading Books

I really love reading. Reading helps me relax, when I read a good book I really feel that I’m having some time for myself. For you, reading books can be a great activity to stay busy in retirement.

Over the past years, I created for myself a reading list of book titles I still want to read. You can do something similar and create a reading list for yourself. Your reading list can contain every book title you like. The most important thing is that it contains titles you want to read.

Many retirees are looking for books to read to get the most out of their retirement. Let me do some self-promotion here because I wrote the Ebook Five Steps To Happiness In Retirement. In just five steps, you discover how to find happiness and fulfillment in retirement that others take years to find.

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9) Listen to Podcasts

Listening to podcasts is the new modern way of listening to the radio. It’s a great way to stay busy, get inspired, and be informed. If you have an interest or hobby, there is a good chance there is a podcast about it.

You can watch and listen to podcasts on YouTube. If you have an iPhone or Ipad, you can download the free app Apple Podcasts, where you can search for podcasts on any type of topic. You can also go to Stitcher and Spotify to listen to podcasts.

10) Get Inspired by Watching TedTalks

TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on education, business, science, technology, psychology, and global issues. The talks are usually 18 minutes or less. It really inspires you and gives you new perspectives on life.

Their mission is to spread ideas for free to change attitudes, lives, and, ultimately, the world. You can watch and listen to TED online and via Android and iOS apps or on YouTube — all for free.

11) Start with Volunteering

One of the best ways to stay busy is to do volunteer work. It’s the most popular thing to do among retirees, and there are so many charities where you can get involved and help others. It’s a good way to stay busy, feel productive, and helping others gives you the feeling you’re contributing to something bigger. It can be one of the most fulfilling activities within your retirement.

Here’s a short list of website where you can find volunteer jobs:

If you want to know more about why volunteering is one of the most popular activities among retirees, I recommend reading my article, Why Do Retirees Volunteer?

12) Build Your Family Tree

What a better way to stay busy during your retirement is to dive deeper into your family history and build a family tree. On Family Echo and Ancestry, you can build your family tree online for free. And on Find My Past and Family Search, you can trace your ancestors.

13) Learn to Play an Instrument

Have you ever wished you could play guitar, piano or another musical instrument? Well, maybe now is the perfect time to learn it. If you learn an instrument one hour a day, you will be surprised at how much you’ve learned after a year. Watch YouTube tutorials to learn your instrument.

Or learn from the best and apply for an Online Masterclass of Carlos Santana that teaches the art and soul of the guitar.

14) Start with Meditating

Suppose you want to be more mindful in your retirement than meditating is the best way to accomplish that. The experts say that meditating twice a day (morning and evening) is the best approach. It allows you to be more mindful and focused during all the activities during the day, and it helps you sleep more peacefully at night.

With meditation, you’re training your mind in awareness. It reminds you to breathe, slow down, and let things be. The benefits of meditations are endless: it reduces stress, controls anxiety, promotes emotional health, and enhances self-awareness and your concentration span. The smartphone app, Headspace is a great tool that helps you meditate. The first ten guided meditations are free

15) Go Traveling

Nothing beats traveling. It’s all about seeing new places and experiencing new things. You can travel to the other side of the world or see new places every day near you. Get yourself the best travel gear out there and explore all the beauty the world has to offer you.

I wrote some articles about traveling that you might find interesting; 20 Amazing Vacations And Trips For 60-Year-Olds and How To Retire And Travel Cheap: 20 Helpful Tips.

Also, when you’re looking for an inspirational book about traveling throughout the United States, I recommend reading 50 States, 5000 Ideas. It’s the #1 Best-selling book of National Geographic on Amazon.

16) Babysit Your Grandchildren

One of the perks of being retired is that you can spend as much time with your family as you want. You can stay busy by babysitting your grandchildren that will save your children a lot of money on childcare.

If you don’t live close to your grandchildren, you can consider moving closer. Make sure to speak about this with your family before moving. Besides babysitting your grandchildren, you want to make sure you’re not only moving for them.

When they get older, they don’t need babysitting anymore, and you want to stay busy with other activities. Or don’t want to leave too many friends and family behind that you love to visit regularly.

17) Make New Friends

Many retirees want to meet up with like-minded people and want to make friends. The best way to make new friends is to become more active, like joining clubs and apply for group activities in your neighborhood. So get out of your comfort zone, put yourself out there, and start conversations the old fashioned way. Or you can go online and find active seniors nearby you with Meet Up.

18) Exercise Every Day

Exercising every day or a couple of days a week is a good way to stay busy during your retirement. You can either go hiking in nature parks near you, go running, swimming, cycling or any other type of sport you love doing. Staying active helps you to stay fit and helps to have to keep a positive mind.

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These hormones trigger a positive feeling in the body and give you a positive and energizing outlook on life.

19) Adopt or Foster a Pet

If you love animals, then adopting or foster a pet is something you might like to do to stay busy during your retirement. You can check the website: adopt a pet or check the website of organizations like Trustedhousesitters and PetsitUSA for fostering pets of others.

20) Join a Club

Joining a club is a great way to meet new friends and stay busy. You can join a book club in your neighborhood or set up your club if you have other interests. With Meet Up you can check out clubs near you that you can join.

21) Visit Museums For Free

One of the perks of being older is that you can have free or discounted admission to many museums worldwide. Even some credit and debit cards (Bank of America and Merrill Lynch) offer free museum admission as a bonus. Google a couple of museums near you and find out what benefits you can have as a senior. Sometimes it is discounted admission or free admission on Mondays. Soaking up some culture now and then keeps you informed, inspired, and busy.

20) Learn New Skills

With all the time in the world, there are so many opportunities to keep you busy, and learning a new skill can be one of them. You can volunteer at a company near you if you’re interested in learning a new skill on the job. Or if you like to have your Do It Yourself projects at home, then Pinterest and YouTube are a good source to learn something new. But the best opportunity to learn something new is from the best teachers in the world

21) Apply For a Job

If you like to stay busy and earn some extra cash and don’t mind continue working during your retirement, then applying for a job can be a great option. There is less pressure on finding a job, so you can be more selective in finding the right jobs that fit you.

With a job as a consultant or freelancer, you can have flexible hours. You can also become a teacher so you can pass on all your wisdom and knowledge to the next generation. At USAjobs.gov you can apply for seasonal and part-time jobs at state, county, and city governments.

Read more:

22) Improve Your Cooking Skills

You have to eat every day, so why not make your meals a feast? It’s a great way to stay busy because breakfast, lunch, and dinner are repeating every day. And because you do something physical, it’s a great stress releaser. Studies have shown that you become a happier person because you use all your senses for cooking. You need to stay present, and that’s why there is less room for worrying about your problems.

With cooking, you even become more creative and socially popular if you’re getting good at it ;). Start a cooking club so you can meet new people and make new friends. And if you need recipe ideas, just scroll through Pinterest to get inspiration for your next meal.

23) Write Letters

You have the power to make someone’s day or week by writing a letter. A lot of senior citizens living in nursing facilities report feeling lonely, isolated, or even depressed. By writing a letter, you can change this and make them feel important again. Love for the Elderly collects all the letters and spread them around nursing homes.

24) Start A Collection

Collecting objects is a great way to stay busy during your retirement. Magnet fishing is an adventurous way of collecting old things. You never know what comes out of the water, maybe its junk but maybe its a treasure.

Other collecting hobbies are Action figure, Antiquing, Art, Books, Coins, Comic books, Dolls, Knives, Rail transport modeling, Perfume, Stones, Stamps, Rocks, Fossils, Vintage Records, Vintage Cars, Insects, Sea Shells.

25) Learn a New Language

If you ever wanted to learn a foreign language, maybe this is the perfect time for you. You can apply for a language school near you or learn it online. The only thing you need is a computer, tablet, or smartphone so you can learn a new language while cooking, driving, or gardening.

Here are a couple of online language courses you can check out:

26) Give Yourself a Break

The most important thing about staying busy during your retirement is not to stay busy just to stay busy. You want to fill up your time with fulfilling activities that make you happy. So you need to give yourself a break first. Enjoy the first couple of weeks or months to slow down and get out of the rushed and productive way of living you’re used to.

It would help if you had time and space to clear your mind and to have room for new inspiration, ideas, and perspectives on how you want to spend your time in retirement. It’s okay to feel bored and disoriented because that mindset is needed to let the creativity flow later. You will not find out what you want in life if you don’t give yourself the time to breathe first.

After giving yourself a break and knowing what you want to do, you can start getting busy as much as you like. And the best way to prioritize your time is to set a goal. This way, you know where you want to go, and every day, you know exactly what to do and how you want to spend your retirement time.

The Importance Of Staying Busy in Retirement

Staying busy in life, and thus in retirement, helps with healthy aging and staying fit. It’s actually better to use the phrase Staying Active instead of Staying Busy.

The term ‘busy’ can be associate with being too busy, not having time for yourself, and causing stress, and that is something you want to avoid in retirement.

According to Harvard Health Publishing, it is important to be socially engaged, busy, and active. In this article, they mention that having a strong social life, with different activities and interacting with different friends and family, is linked to many health benefits.

When you’re retiring, it can sometimes be a challenge to stay socially active. A lot of contacts for many people are work-related, and when they stop working, there’s a possibility of less social interaction. If you’re experiencing this, you might find it helpful to read my article 20 Ways How To Stay Socially Active.

Benefits of Staying Mentally and Physically Active in Retirement

The CDC shares a lot of helpful information on why it is important to stay both mentally and physically active, especially when you’re aging. They even share effective exercising plans for older adults, which you can find in this article on the website of the CDC.

In the same article I referred to above, the CDC mentions that physical activity is essential to healthy aging. It is widely known that staying fit and physically strong helps you do your day-to-day activities without being dependent on others.

Physical activities like sports, swimming, walking/ hiking also help with staying socially active. Often people share their moderate physical activity moments with like-minded people. It is a chance to catch up with one other.

Social interactions are also essential to stay mentally active. When talking with other people, your brain needs to work to process the interactions. Next to social engagement, another great way of staying mentally active is to keep learning.

You’re never too old to learn, right?! Learning new things helps you stay mentally fit and sharp. In my article, ‘How Do I Keep My Brain Active In Retirement?‘, I’ll share some other helpful ideas on how to stay mentally active.

Recommended Articles

These articles might be helpful for you to read as well:

Related Questions

What are the good things about being retired? The good thing about being retired is that you feel less stressed, you have more time to spend with family and friends, you can do things you love, you can be more spontaneous, go travel and spend the day exactly how you want to spend it.

How do you stay healthy after retirement? The best ways to stay healthy is to stay active, exercise, surround yourself with loving people, limit your time on watching TV and scrolling the internet, do something fun every day, spend time on things you love, volunteer, and make your social circle bigger instead of smaller. And maintain a healthy sleeping routine. And to help yourself, you can get the most comfortable mattress in America.

How do you structure your retirement day? Having a daily routine, having fulfilling hobbies, and sticking to a sleeping schedule is a great start to having a more structured retirement day. Read more about how to structure your retirement day.

Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my husband Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. In the last couple of years, I wrote over 100+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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