How Do I Not Get Bored In Retirement? | 10 Helpful Tips

When your retirement is getting closer by the day, you might ask yourself; How do I not get bored in retirement? Well, I wrote this helpful guide with 10 helpful tips to help you not get bored in your retirement. 

1) Have Something To Retire To

It might sound obvious, but when you’re having an idea of the things you want to do in your retirement, it gets much easier to avoid getting bored. 

Did you know that some people create complete retirement plans? Not only financially, but also about the things they want to do when they’re retired. 

I recommend that you’re doing the same. It is time to sit down, maybe with a good glass of wine, and think about how you want to fill your retirement. 

When you’re married or living together with your spouse, it is probably a good idea to have this conversation together. When this applies to you, you also want to think about if you want to retire at the same time. But that’s a different question than we’re answering today. You can find more information in the article I wrote Should Couples Retire At The Same Time?

Having something or several things to retire to helps you to not get bored in retirement.

When you start to think of the subject what it is that you want to retire to, there are a few things that can help to answer the question. Think of the things you always wanted to do in life, subjects or hobbies you never get tired of or that gives you energy.

Creating this plan or having an idea of the things that are important to you before you’re retiring is essential in avoiding boredom once you’re retired. But let me say right away that being bored sometimes can be very helpful and crucial for you. It might sound weird, but boredom can help to avoid stress and stay mentally fit. I’ll tell you later more about it, but first, let’s find out how to find your passion in retirement. 

Give Yourself The Gift Of MasterClass

A great way to explore new things is to give yourself the gift of Masterclass.

Masterclass is a streaming platform that makes it possible for anyone to watch or listen to hundreds of video lessons taught by the most successful and famous teachers in the world. It will make your retired life instantly fun and interesting. There are over 85 Masterclasses available so you don’t have to get bored with an annual membership to Masterclass.

From cooking classes to art, science, music, sports, business classes, and everything in between. Get an annual membership to Masterclass and follow classes such as Ron Finley teaches Gardening, Aaron Franklin Teaches Texas-Style BBQ, Kelly Wearstler Teaches Interior Design and so many more.

To name a couple more experts on Masterclass: Martin Scorsese, Dr. Jane Goodall, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Chin, Serena Williams, Dan Brown, etc.

2) Find Your Passion 

We are all passionate about something, right? But sometimes we simply forget about it. The rat-race and busy life we’re finding ourselves in, just simply don’t allow us to really enjoy the things we’re passionate about. Often people are too busy with work, their careers and other stuff they think that’s important. 

However, your retirement is getting close, and it is important to learn what you’re genuinely passionate about. Some people still know it, and even their busy careers don’t get in the way of their passion. If you’re one of them, that’s awesome! You’re probably aren’t afraid of getting bored in retirement either. 

But if you lost your passion along the way, don’t worry, there’s nothing to blame. It is absolutely normal. Within the rat race of western society, we’re often just to busy making a career and living according to a checklist. 

According to this BLS Study, full-time employers in The United States worked around 8.5 hours a day, for 5 days a week. It doesn’t save a lot of time for passionate hobbies or enjoying your leisure. The BLS also describes the United States as a ‘no vacation nation,’ where 10 paid vacation days a year is average. 

It is interesting to see those numbers. It creates more perspective on why a lot of people are afraid of getting bored in their retirement. Still, another BLS study shows that many for many people, leisure is the second thing they spent most of their time on. Women spent, on average, 4.9 hours a day on leisure activities, and men 5.7 hours a day. 

When you start to look a bit more in detail on those numbers of that BLS Study, you’ll see that most of that leisure time is spent watching television. Activities like sports and socializing are, on average only good for a short amount of time spent on leisure activities. 

How To Find Your Passion

I’ve tried to give you some more insight into why people are getting bored when they’re retired. It isn’t strange at all when you look at the numbers. However, I think that many people are very passionate about several things. They just need some help in finding their passion again. 

So, how can you find your passion? I wrote this article; 14 tips How To Find Your Passion in Retirement, it is an interesting read when you need some extra tips. Let me share the basics with you here. 

(Re)finding your passion is all about getting closer to yourself. And to do that, you must start questioning yourself with questions like; 

  • What are the subjects I’m interested in?
  • What is something I love to talk about?
  • What do I never get bored of?
  • What do I regret NOT doing in my life?

The answers to these questions help you get a better idea of where to look for your passion. Don’t overthink it, just write down what you feel! 

Another great thing to (re)find your passion, which I like very much, is going back to your childhood. As a kid, there were probably many things you were passionate about. And when you start to think of your 8-year-old-self, you probably find those things again. 

As a kid, I was always playing outside. I loved to go outside to go kayaking or just playing simple sports games with my friends. And you know, I still love doing this! 

I feel it is the most essential thing that you don’t stop trying, make sure to read my article 14 Tips On How To Find Your Passion In Retirement, which can be very helpful. 

Maybe it was a long time ago that you spent time on finding your passion, which can make it a difficult process. But if you give it some time, and just try to enjoy this search, I’m sure you’ll find your passion again, which helps you not getting bored in retirement! 

3) Don’t Be Afraid Of Boredom

You ask yourself, how do I not get bored in retirement? However, sometimes it isn’t that bad being bored. Let me explain why. 

We’re trying to avoid boredom at all costs, but boredom can help us improve ourselves. When you’re bored, often there’s less stimulation, but that can be a good thing. It helps to process the previous experiences and allows you to look at your ideas in life from a different perspective, which can give you a new spark of creativity.

But where is boredom coming from? Let’s get more in detail, and look at some different research articles that gives perspective on the importance of boredom. 

For example, the article On The Function of Boredomthat was published on the website of NCBI. The authors of this article say that boredom motivates the pursuit of new goals when the previous goals are no longer beneficial. 

It’s exactly what happens when you’re retiring. When you were still working, one of your goals was probably to function to the best ability in your job. Now that you stopped working, you need to find a new goal that’s more beneficial to your new lifestyle as a retiree. And that’s why it is important to have something to retire to and know more about your passion. 

The Stages Of Retirement

Being bored is a natural thing, it is even part of one of the five stages in retirement. However, in these stages, boredom is described as the disenchantment stage. The period where you think ‘Is this really it?’ It is a period where you learn more about yourself and the things you want to do in life. I wrote an article about The Five Stages Of Retirement, which is interesting to read. 

Do you recognize this; when you’re just doing nothing, you come up with the most brilliant and creatives ideas? I often have it when I’m taking a shower or go for a walk in the park. People often describe this as being bored as well, but instead, it is a period where your brain is processing all the things that happened and creates new ideas. 

This inspiring TED Talk from Manoush Zomorodi is a brilliant explanation about why boredom can be important; 

4) Change Your Old Behaviors

It sounds obvious, changing your old behavior so you’ll not get bored in retirement. We just learned that we can experience boredom when our goals are no longer beneficial. It’s like when we get tired of the things we’re doing or not knowing what we want to do. 

But it’s easier said than done. As humans, we are also a bit ‘lazy.’ It’s just easy doing things like we always do, but when it results in boredom, we need to change particular things in our behavior. 

Our behavior can easily be one of the main factors why we’re feeling bored. Because we always do things in the same way. We avoid doing things we actually want but might find a bit scary, we just don’t allow ourselves to get close to our passion. Instead, we follow what many people refer to as avoiding behavior. 

You can see this in the number, the BLS report we mentioned earlier, that shows us that most people spent their leisure by watching television. An activity that is not the most inspiring of all the things we can do in life. 

Stages of Behavior Change

However, to change your behavior is hard. It takes time. A lot of studies are focused on behavioral change that impacts health, these studies are very important. We can learn from these studies when we look at the stages of behavior change. 

Knowing that changing your behavior is a process that takes time is beneficial when you want to avoid boredom in your retirement. It helps you understand more about the process, which probably makes it easier to adapt. 

According to this article on Harvard Health Publishing, there are five stages in behavior change; 

  • Precontemplation
    In this stage, you don’t have the intention to make a change. You might not be aware of the importance, or you’re demotivated because you already tried many times. 
  • Contemplation
    At this stage, you know that you need to change your behavior, but you didn’t take any action. 
  • Preparation
    In this stage, you’re getting yourself ready to make a change. 
  • Action
    You changed your behavior.
  • Maintenance
    The maintenance stage starts after six months when you changed your behavior. It is important to avoid situations that trigger your old habits. 

If you need to change your behavior to get new creative energy and avoid boredom, there are some easy things you can do; 

  • Changing your sleeping schedule (getting up earlier in the morning and going to bed sooner), 
  • Going to a sports club (staying physically active is very important, I’ll tell you later more about this.)
  • Watching fewer hours of television a day (I try to avoid watching TV a few hours before I go to bed, which helps me reduce my screen time.)

5) Plan Ahead

When you create a schedule for yourself, you know what your days are going to look like. And having something to live up to, helps not to get bored. 

There is a downside to planning ahead your activities and things to do. When you’re planning too much ahead, your schedule tends to get too busy. Before you know it, you don’t have any free time left in your schedule, and the things you need to do start to look like work. And that’s just something we want to avoid when we’re retired. 

Still, it can be challenging to find the right balance in planning your activities and taking enough time for yourself. When you don’t have any plans for a day, it doesn’t mean you’re bored. 

It’s part of retirement, you can do whatever you like to do. So make sure to ‘plan’ enough time for yourself. Sometimes the days where you don’t have anything planned are the days you enjoy yourself the best. You get up in the morning, and you can do whatever you feel like doing. 

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6) Keep Learning

We all know that saying, ‘you’re never too old to learn something new.’ And when you’re learning new things, you’re able to improve yourself. It is fun to do, and it helps you to not get bored in your retirement. 

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of learning a new language like Spanish, Portuguese or Latin. Or perhaps you’re more a music minded person and want to learn to play guitar or improve your skills. Or you love to cook, and you want to learn how to make dinner like a professional chef. What if I told you it’s all possible? Check out Masterclass! I absolutely love it! 

Masterclass provides online courses on almost every subject (for any skill level) you can think of. And these courses are given by the best in the world. 

You can follow a cooking course from Gordon Ramsey or learn to play Tennis from Serena Williams with your annual membership to Masterclass. It’s a great and easy way of learning new things. Check out all the Masterclasses available here.

The Importance Of Learning

Let’s get back to that famous saying, never too old to learn. The importance of life long learning is acknowledged all around the world. And when you’re retired, it is straightforward to stay active while learning new things. 

Learning helps you to stimulate your brain. Taking a class improves your social contacts, you get to meet a lot of new people. It gives you a sense of fulfillment, a satisfying feeling.  

I just explained how you can easily follow courses from home via Masterclass, but did you know there are many more ways to keep learning? For example, many universities in the United States offers, often free of charge, master courses for retirees. An excellent opportunity to get that master’s degree you always wanted! I share many more different ideas in my article, 50+ Fun Classes For Retirees.

7) Stay Mentally Active

Staying actives in life, also when you’re retired, is important. There’s a difference between mental and physical activity. In the next part of this article, I’ll explain more about it. 

We already found out that with learning and finding your passion, you keep yourself active. You can avoid boredom, and you’re busy improving yourself and reaching your personal goals. Staying mentally active helps to keep your brain fit. We’re staying what we describe as ‘sharp,’ other people might call it aware or awake. 

Either way, keeping your brain active, and thus staying mentally active is important. In my article How Can I Keep My Brain Active in RetirementI share 10 helpful tips. One of them is to keep reading books. Reading books helps your brain function, and protects your memory and thinking skills. 

Meditation – Mental Fitness

There’s a lot more you can do to stay mentally active. Ever thought about meditation? Meditation is a helpful way to keep your mind fit. 

Meditation helps to clear your mind. When you’re meditating, you basically ordering your thoughts and emotions. It is one of the best exercises you can do to train your brain and stay mentally active. 

There are many forms of meditation, but they all have kind of the same purpose. I use the smartphone app Headspace, which is a straightforward meditation app, and very easy to use. I can recommend it to anyone! 

8) Stay Physically Active

There’s a significant correlation between staying mentally and physically active. It is just as simple as that with a fit body, you feel more energetic. But when you’re feeling a bit down, or are not mentally fit, you probably also don’t have the urge to exercise. But exercising and staying physically active is one of the most important things in life. 

When you’re retired, you must make sure that you stay physically active. The CDC shares a lot of helpful information on how to stay physically active when you’re getting older. They say basically to move more and sit less

Did you know that moderate physical activity is better to do than extreme sports? And that’s also what the CDC recommends to do. They say that older adults should at least have 150 minutes of physical activity twice a week. 

In my article How Can I Stay Active In Retirement? I explained multiple physical activities and what the benefits are of these different exercises. Being in nature helps you also to stay fit, both mentally and physically. Going outdoors helps you to boost your mood!

9) Stay Socially Active

Do you have a lot of social interactions with friends and family? Good for you! It is essential to stay healthy. 

According to Harvard Medical School (Health Publishing), staying socially active and social engagement can be as important to healthy aging as not smoking or maintaining a good weight and following a healthy diet! 

However, when you just got retired, staying socially active can be challenging. There’s a chance that a lot of your social activity was organized around your previous job. Now that you’re not working, you might not be as socially active as before. It is very important to stay socially active, so that’s why I created an article with 20 Ways How To Stay Social After Retirement.

Some of the tips I share in that article are also related to staying mentally active. For example, taking a class. When you’re taking a class, there’s a good chance you’ll meet new people and have more social interactions. 

When you’re not married or in a relationship, it might be time to start dating. Who knows, you’ll find the love of your life in retirement! 

During your retirement, you have a lot more time, so it might also be a perfect time to visit some old friends or family that you haven’t seen in a while. 

Blue Zones 

Have you heard of the Blue Zones in the world? Places where most people getting over 100 years or older, often in a healthy way. 

It is interesting to read about the lifestyle of these people. The Blue Zones are spread throughout the world, from Japan to France to The United States, and a few other places. 

What we can learn from people living in the Blue Zones is how they fill in their days, even when they’re getting older. These people all have in common that they follow a healthy diet, staying mentally and physically active in a moderate way. And they stay socially active. They all have a purpose in life. I recommend reading the book Dan Buettner about the people living in the Blue Zones. 

10) Create A Bucket List

A great way to not get bored in retirement is to create a retirement bucket list. It can be a list of things that you always wanted to do. 

Remember one of the questions that can help you with how to find your passion? Yes, it was; What do I regret NOT doing in my life? You can also ask it in this way; What Did I Always Wanted To Do?

Just write it down, and don’t be too hard on yourself. You can’t do anything wrong! If you need some inspiration to get started with your bucket list, you can read my article with 101+ Ideas for a Retirement Bucket List

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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 200+ articles about retirement and did extensive research to help people prepare, enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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