How To Spend A Day In Retirement: Step-by-Step Guide

You’re retired, and you’re probably wondering how to spend your day in retirement. Figuring out how to spend the endless free time you have can be hard at times. And that’s why I created this article to help you out.

You spend a day in retirement with a combination of physical, mental, and social activities. Together with time for relaxation, achieving personal goals, and household duties you have the right mix to enjoy a successful and enjoyable retirement day. These activities need to add joy and meaning to your life to experience a satisfying and fulfilling at end of each retirement day.

In this article, I will explain to you where to start and what you can do to make your typical day in retirement enjoyable and fulfilling. So let’s get started!

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A Typical Day in Retirement

When people think of retirement, they imagine someone traveling the world, checking off their bucket list, and doing all things they always dreamed of. Maybe you had these dreams too before you retired. But unfortunately, the reality is a bit different.

A 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.

So retirement doesn’t mean you get a gift on your last day in the office with 25 years of endless free hours. Instead, you get the same 24-hour day only you don’t have to spend a couple of hours at work. And it takes a bit of work and creativity to spend these hours in a fulfilling way.

In this post, I will help you through these steps and give you ideas and inspiration on how to spend your retirement days. So you can have a sense of purpose and fulfilled feeling at the end of your retirement day. Make sure you’re not just retiring from a job but retiring to something.

Many retirees struggle with the major life change that is retirement. They don’t know how to spend and structure their day, create new routines, find new fulfilling activities and passions. And they feel lost and maybe even lonely and depressed sometimes. The reality of their retirement is different and the transition into retirement isn’t going smoothly. If this applies to you, know that you’re not alone.

Step 1: Find Your Passion

The quote above says it all. You want to seek a passion, hobby, or an interest in retirement that you get excited about. So you wake up every morning with a sense of purpose, direction, and excitement. If you love something, then it’s easy to wake up in the morning and spend your retirement days with a fulfilling activity.

A passion is something:

  • You love to do.
  • You love to talk about it.
  • That gets you excited.
  • Your eyes will lit up while talking or thinking about it.
  • You want to keep on working without feeling tired.
  • You will never get bored.
  • That makes you smile.
  • You keep on trying.
  • That’s a stress reliever for you.
  • That gives you joy and happiness.
  • That gives you satisfaction.
  • That is more about the journey and makes you forget about the end result.

How to find your passion

A lot of people think that there’s a Eureka moment (the lightbulb above your head) when it comes to finding their passion. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you won’t find your true passion overnight.

You will find your passion through a series of discoveries of small interests. Therefore you have to question yourself, get out of your comfort zone, and try new things. It’s a process where you have to think and analyze your mind while trying out things that will lead to discovering your true passion. It takes small daily actions that will lead to something bigger.

And to give you a little direction on where to start. Here are a couple of things you can do to find your passion:

Question yourself:

  • What subject can you read 500 books about without feeling bored?
  • What did you love to do as a child?
  • Who inspires you?
  • What did you always want to do?
  • What drives you?
  • How do you want to bring value to people’s lives?

You can also ask other people like your closest friends and family members about what you should be doing. And try not to put people on the spot, so they rush their answers. Allow them to think about it, and maybe they will come up with different ideas and perspectives.


  • Participate in your friend’s hobbies.
  • Try to visualize your perfect day
  • Sign up for a club
  • Sign up for a class you’re interested in (check out Masterclass)
  • Create something new: According to successful write Oliver Emberton:” When you create something new, you’re inventing something to be passionate about.”

Don’t become too obsessed with finding your passion. Give it time, explore new things, and focus on it daily/ weekly in a healthy way, and it will come to you naturally. And definitely, don’t let fear stop you from pursuing your passion. In my ebook: you’ll get practical tips and a more in-depth look at how to find your passion in retirement.

Step 2: Create A Great Morning Routine

How you spend your morning in retirement will affect the rest of your day.

If you win the morning, you win the day.

If you wake up by doing positive activities, you will help your mindset in staying positive for the rest of the day. This is called the endowment effect, discovered by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky during their research on prospect theory.

According to the endowment effect, if you start the day by moving your life forward, you have established positive momentum. And you’re more likely to keep doing positive things.

Also, another research by Steve Key, a professor at the University of Southern California, shows that most adults perform best in the late morning when it comes to doing cognitive work.

So to make the best of your day, you can create a positive morning routine to put you in the right mindset for the rest of the day. You can create a personalized morning routine that fits your biological rhythm and interests. There isn’t one perfect morning routine, but there is a perfect one for you.

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    Why creating a morning routine

    A routine gives you something to hold onto—a sense of normality to root yourself in those retirement days with endless free time.

    Morning routines also help you limit wasting your retirement days. Everyone knows those days when you sit around until noon basically doing nothing: send some emails and scrolling the internet aimlessly. And before you know it. Half the day is gone, and the rest of the day you’ll be angry at yourself for wasting the first half of your day and can’t get anything done.

    Also, morning routines create momentum. And momentum is a crucial part of psychology. In goal pursuit and achievement, psychological momentum plays a critical role. Momentum is a vehicle of performance that will lead to future success and goal achievement. If you facilitate a morning routine that creates a psychological momentum on a conscious level frequently, it will become nonconscious automatic behavior. On average, it takes about two months before a new habit or routine becomes automatic.

    So now you know why you want to create a morning routine. Let’s see what you can do to create a great morning routine.

    How to create a Morning routine

    When you’re creating a morning routine, you don’t need to think of big gestures. You want to get small wins in the morning for each life domain that is valuable to you. So set the alarm and rise early to the alarm clock. Your first win of the day is getting out of bed. You win by not being lazy, and the second win of the day is making your bed. This small task gets you encouraged to do another task, and another so by the end of the day that one task has led to many tasks accomplished.

    And to make the most of your retirement and to enjoy it as long as you can, you want to make your health important. If it isn’t already is for you. So prioritize what’s important to you and get small wins in the morning.

    Small wins on essential themes in life with examples:

    • Food – Eat a healthy breakfast. Fuel up your body with healthy and nutrient-dense foods. And if you don’t know how to cook you can learn from the best chefs in the world like Gordon Ramsey, Aaron Franklin, Thomas Keller, Gabriela Camara and many more with online cooking classes on Masterclass.
    • Exercise – For example: running, hiking, walking, swimming, yoga, stretching, fitness. This can be anything from 5 minutes doing push-ups or yoga poses in your living room to going swimming or running for an hour. The benefits of exercising include managing your weight, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, some cancers. It strengthens your bones and muscles. It improves your mental health and mood, and it also increases your chances of living longer.
    • Mentally – create stillness in your mind by meditation: to process your thoughts, declutter your mind, and start your day with calm thoughts. You can use the apps Headspace or Insight Timer that takes out the complexity of meditation and gives you a simple step-by-step starting point.
    • Intellectually – Fill your brain with positive and ideas from others. Read an (educational or inspirational) book. If you read 30 minutes every morning, that will become about 24 books per year, which would put you in the top 1% of Americans. You can also listen to an interesting podcast or watch an inspirational TedTalk. Or apply for Masterclass, an online education platform with the world’s most successful teachers.
    • Evaluate – To focus on what you want in life, you need to evaluate and remind yourself every day on what’s important to you. You can use affirmations. Affirmations are encouraging words you can tell yourself to achieve your goals, overcome your fears, be healthy, and stay happy.
      • I am grateful for…
      • What I like about me is…
      • What would make today great is…
      • I want to overcome my fear of…
    • Plan – Intentionally think or write down what you want to do in life. Set a goal, because, with a goal, your daily focus and activities become more clear. You can prioritize your time better. So dream big and set a goal and remind yourself every morning what that goal is. And plan what you can do today so you’ll be closer to your goal tomorrow. Having dreams inspires you to move forward and don’t let fear stop you.

    It’s all up to you if you only spend 5 minutes on every theme every morning or create a morning routine that lasts 3 hours. You can set up your routine in these apps to make life easy: Habit Tracker (iOS) or Loop Habit Tracker (Android)

    Other fulfilling activities you can do in the morning:

    • Record one-second video a day with the second a day app to create cool videos of your past month, year, etc.
    • Listen to music
    • Cuddle with someone you love
    • Keep a journal
    • Work on a puzzle
    • Read good news instead of bad news
    • Do your financing
    • Process your email
    • Take a cold shower: it boosts your immune system. Increases blood flow, burns away unhealthy fat and, releases dopamine into your body.
    • go into nature

    To transform your life with simple rituals in the morning you can read the book: The Morning Miracle from bestselling author Hal Elrod.

    Go into nature

    Being in nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases your mood. Nature will make you feel better emotionally, it also contributes to your physical health: reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

    Negative ions are the key to well-being. They strengthen the body’s immune system and stimulate the supply of oxygen to the brain, and activating the mind and the body as well as bringing more mental energy. Most negative ions (from 5,000 – 50,000 per cubic centimeter) are present in mountains, at sea, and in forests.

    Step 3: Plan A Fun Afternoon

    After having a great morning, you can spend your afternoon with positive vibes and full of energy. Start your afternoon with a nice and healthy gourmet lunch. If you like cooking, then this can be a daily project or passion for you. Invite some friends and neighbors to engage with others and socialize.

    To get a fulfilling sense of accomplishment at the end of your day, you also make time for socializing, leisure, hobby, education. And getting out of the house to be in a different environment. It’s the combination and variety of activities during the day that makes your day fulfilled and energized. Nobody will feel better spending 8 hours watching TV all day. You want to limit your time in watching TV and aimlessly scroll through the internet.

    A great way to keep yourself busy with fun projects in retirement is with Cratejoy. You can treat yourself with a monthly Gourmet Crate, Self-Care Crate, Good Coffee, and Book Crate, or a fun Crafts Crate where you can explore a new craft project every month.

    My Coffee and Book Club

    Alternate Activities

    I encountered this problem myself. After working too hard in a highly stressful environment for many years and didn’t take care of my body and mind properly. I was knocked against the wall, figuratively speaking, and was burned out, or some people call it adrenaline fatigue. So no energy anymore to do anything in life (for years!). 

    And therefore, I didn’t know how to organize my day and to get my energy back.

    And the key to gaining energy and my recovery day after day, month after month, and year after year was alternating my activities during the day. Alternating activities are what make you feel energized. If you spend a lot of time on one activity, it can be exhausting. When you alternate activities and have enough breaks during the day, you can last longer, and you don’t feel tired.

    And that’s why I highly recommend alternating activities to everyone who doesn’t know how to spend their day. It energizes you and keeps you sharp, fresh, and motivated to keep going forward.  

    For example:

    • 1-hour of household activities,
    • 1-hour running errands,
    • 1-hour maintenance project,
    • 1-hour of socializing,
    • 1-hour of educating yourself, etc.

    Only doing a mental activity the entire day will exhaust you. Throw in an hour of physical activity in the middle, and you’ll have a fresh mind again. The combination of mental, physical, and social activities keeps you energized and is the key to a successful retirement which you can read all about in my ebook: Five Steps To Happiness In Retirement.

    Socializing activities

    Socializing is an important activity in retirement. Unfortunately, a lot of people in retirement feel alone, and instead of expanding their social circle, they do the opposite and retract themselves in their house. Feeling even more alone.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people in retirement feel alone. And instead of expanding their social circle, they do the opposite and retract themselves in their house. Feeling even more alone.

    Studies have shown that socializing has physical and emotional health benefits. It can improve your brain health, it boosts your mental health, and positive social bonds can also lead to a stronger immune system. Therefore, doing social activities is the key to having a fun and healthy day in retirement.

    Example of Social activities:

    • watch your grandchildren
    • rekindle the relationship with longtime friends or family members
    • call a friend or family member
    • join a club or class to make new friends
    • grab a coffee with someone
    • do volunteer work
    • cook a meal and invite people
    • help a neighbor
    • have a (part-time) job
    • become a mentor for the next generation
    • perform a random act of kindness for a stranger
    • walk around the neighborhood and start a conversation with a stranger
    • Travel to meet new people. 

    Socializing is an important activity in retirement. Unfortunately, a lot of people in retirement feel alone, and instead of expanding their social circle, they do the opposite and retract themselves in their house. Feeling even more alone.

    Studies have shown that socializing has physical and emotional health benefits: it can improve your brain health, boosts your mental health, and positive social bonds can also lead to a stronger immune system. So doing social activities is the key to have a fun and healthy day in retirement.

    Social activities in the afternoon can be:

    • watch your grandchildren
    • rekindle the relationship with longtime friends or family members
    • call a friend or family member
    • join a club or class to make new friends
    • grab a coffee with someone
    • do volunteer work
    • cook a meal and invite people
    • help a neighbor
    • have a (part-time) job
    • become a mentor for the next generation
    • perform a random act of kindness for a stranger
    • walk around the neighborhood and start a conversation
    • Travel to meet new people. To in-state national parks nearby, sightseeing in your home town or further away.

    Find out more ways about staying social in retirement by reading my ebook: Five Steps To Happiness In Retirement.

    Educational activities

    The BLS study, which I mentioned earlier in this post, also reported that the group of people of 65+ years old spend 0 hours per day on educational activities. Which is unfortunate and a missed opportunity.

    Everyone knows the saying: you’re never too old to learn. And learning something new is good:

    • for your brain health,
    • it keeps you sharp,
    • it keeps you young at heart,
    • it also helps you to discover a new passion,
    • it gives you different perspectives on life
    • and it gives you confidence, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

    Educational activities in the afternoon can be:

    • read an informative book
    • listen to an educational book
    • listen to podcasts
    • watch inspirational TEDTalks
    • start a new hobby
    • learn a new language
    • learn a new skill
    • learn a musical instrument
    • learn to do maintenance and household projects yourself with tutorials from Pinterest or YouTube
    • apply for a class

    Apply To Masterclass

    One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to have something fun to do in retirement. And if you like to get better at your hobby, learn something new or explore a new passion in retirement you should get yourself an All-Acces Pass to Masterclass.

    MasterClass is an online education platform with the world’s most successful and famous teachers: writers, musicians, athletes, chefs, etc. From classes such as cooking, acting, writing, poker, singing, sports to science, and so much more. Masterclass offers masterclasses (for any skill level) taught by the best teachers in the world: Gordon Ramsey, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Jimmy Chin, etc.

    With Masterclass, you can make the most out of your retirement because that’s what retirement is all about. Check out all the masterclasses available here. 

    Household activities

    In retirement, you will have to do the same household activities like run errands, do grocery shopping, mow the backyard, clean your hour, etc like you did while working. You can fill your whole day in retirement with these activities, or you can efficiently plan these necessary tasks or outsource them. And you have more time to spend on your goals, passions, relationships, hobbies, travel, and health in retirement.

    Step 4: Have A Relaxing Evening

    After a fruitful morning and an afternoon filled with activities, you can spend the evening relaxing or continuing your day being active in activities you like to do. Maybe there are classes or courses in the evening you can apply for. Or if you want to catch up with old friends in town or call them. Or maybe you want to watch that documentary you’ve always wanted to see.

    Also, your evening rituals set the tone for the next day. In the evening you can reflect on the day. You can take a couple of moments to think about all the things you achieved during the day. It gives you encouragement and empowerment for the next day. And if you end your day on a positive note, you will sleep better as well.

    Tips to sleep better

    For you to sleep better you want to make sure it’s quiet at night. Your sleep can be greatly influenced by your partner snoring the whole night. If snoring is a big problem for you or your partner you can get an anti-snoring mouthpiece from VitalSleep that helps you to breathe easily and sleep quietly. It helped over 400,000 snorers get a restful night’s sleep. You can read hundreds of VitalSleep reviews here.

    VitalSleep Reviews

    To make sure you sleep well, you need a high-quality mattress. Did you know that the lifespan of a mattress is between 7-10 years? So, if you need a new mattress, make sure to check out the best-ranked mattress in America: The Puffy Mattress. This mattress is also is known as the most comfortable mattress out there and gets the best reviews from thousands of people across the USA.

    Puffy Lux

    Also, for you to sleep comfortably, you need a high-quality mattress. And one of the best investments you can do for retirement is getting yourself the most comfortable mattress out there: the Puffy Mattress. It is ranked as the best and most comfortable mattress in America! 

    I’ve experienced that with an old mattress, you get back, neck, and shoulder pains. It limits you in activities during the day. So I can recommend anyone to invest in a good mattress. You can read the 5-star reviews and ratings and check out the latest prices of Puffy Mattress here.

    Puffy Lux

    End your day positive and sleep better:

    • Clear your mind with meditation
    • Prepare tasks for the next morning
    • Tidy up your house
    • Stick to same sleep and wake schedule
    • Avoid caffeine or alcohol right before sleep
    • Minimize your time watching screens 1-hour before bed
    • set the right temperature in your bedroom
    • and make the bedroom as dark as possible.
    • Get the most comfortable Mattress out there: The Puffy Mattress

    You can create a schedule to make planning your retirement days more manageable for you. It’s a guide that gives you the comfort of knowing you have things to do. And staying active in retirement is not about being always busy but balancing projects and relaxation.

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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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