How To Structure Your Retirement Day: 15 Tips

How To Structure Your Retirement Day

It can be hard at first to structure your retirement day. Because of your career, your days were always pretty structured, and creating a new routine in your (new) retirement days is sometimes easier said than done. You can feel a bit disorientated when you suddenly have all the time in the world.

Many retirees struggle with this problem, so that’s why I created this article to help you structure your retirement day. After reading the article, you’ll have all the tools you need to structure your retirement day easily.

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1) Replace Your Working Hours With Fulfilling Activities

We have experienced for ourselves that the switch from fully-packed working days to total free days can be liberating. But after some time you feel the need for more structured days. And creating structure in your days is essential to living a more fulfilling and retired life. It’s easy to fill up your time with passive activities like watching TV, going on the internet, and keep refreshing your Facebook page. But that doesn’t make you happier.

You want to spend your days doing fulfilling activities that make you happier. And a structured day can help you with that. It doesn’t mean that you have to continue the same structure as your working days. That’s not why you’ve retired. You can enjoy your well-deserved free time in retirement and take it easy, but also have a structured day that fits your needs perfectly.

When you retire, you don’t get 20 years of free time as a retirement gift on your last day of work. Instead, you get a couple of extra hours in a day that you don’t have to work anymore. And that’s why it’s important to fill these hours with new and fun activities that make you feel fulfilled at the end of your retirement day. That’s why you worked hard all those years to do the things you love to do.

Example Of A Structured Day In Retirement

08.00 Wake Up and Get Ready
08.30 Breakfast Time
09.00 Positive Morning Routine (e.g. Work-Out/ Walk the Dog/ Nature Hike/ Meditate/ Read a Book, etc)
10.00 Enjoy a gourmet cup of Coffee or Tea
10.30 Retirement Hobby Time
12.30 Lunch Time
13.30 Social Time (e.g. call someone/ meet up with someone)
15.30 Relaxing Time (e.g. Do nothing/ Relax in a hammock/ Read)
16.30 Household Activity Time (clean up house/ Gardening/ running errands/ grocery shopping)
18.00 Happy Hour Time (enjoy a nice cold craft beer or a delicious glass of wine)
19.00 Dinner Time
20.00 Evening Activity (e.g. meet up with a friend, family, neighbor/ Work Out/ Retirement Hobby/ Watch A TV Show, Film, or Series)
23.00 Bed Time

2) Find Your Passion

Doing something you are passionate about helps you structure your day in retirement. It makes any day in retirement much more fun, interesting, and satisfying. And you also have a good reason to get up every morning and be excited for the day.

But there is sometimes a lot to it in finding your passion. After dedicating most of your time to your career in the last decades, you often forget what your passion is. So that is why I’ve written an article to help you find your passion much faster. You can continue reading about this in my article: How Do I Find My Passion In Retirement? | 14 Helpful Tips

3) Get A Retirement Hobby

Having a fun retirement hobby makes your day in retirement much more fun. Also, staying busy with a new hobby or activity makes you feel worthy and useful at the end of your day.

A lot of retirees feel worthless because they don’t know how to keep themselves busy in retirement. Having a retirement hobby helps you to avoid boredom and keeps you busy and moving your life forward.

A retirement hobby can be anything from volunteering, collecting, doing sports, gardening, starting a new business, or something else you like to do!

Here are a few popular options a lot of retirees enjoy:

Start A Retirement Business

Many retirees decide to start a business when they just got retired. It is one of the most popular activities to do in retirement. However, I would recommend thinking thoroughly before you start a business in retirement. It can be a great opportunity, but it can also be overwhelming. But if you have a great idea, why not?

Read more: Which Business Is Best After Retirement? | 15 Unique Business Ideas

Start with Gardening as a Retirement Hobby

It’s great to be outside every day, and if you have a garden you might want to spend more time in your garden now that you’re retired. Many retirees love to do gardening because of the many benefits.

And if these options are not the right fit for you, make sure to read my article: How To Find A Hobby At 60 That You’ll Love: 9 Tips

4) Learn To Relax

Staying busy in retirement is helpful to keep you occupied and active during the day. But retirement isn’t about always being busy and productive. That was your work-life all about.

Balancing retirement projects and relaxing time is what retirement should be all about. You relax better when you’ve done something meaningful during the day, and you stay motivated for a new retirement project when you’ve relaxed as well. It’s a balance that is different for everyone so that’s why you have to find your perfect balance and rhythm in your retirement days.

Read my article: How To Relax In Retirement when you need some extra help and tips.

5) Socialize Everyday

Did you know that loneliness is worse for your health than smoking, being obese, and having high blood pressure?

This is proven by recent scientific work on the effect of social impact on your health. 

When you retire, you lose the daily social stimulation from work. That’s why it’s important to seek new ways to be social in retirement every day to increase your happiness.

Also, having strong social connections:

  • makes your immune system stronger
  • increases your chance of living longer by 50%
  • helps you to recover from diseases faster
  • and lowers the level of anxiety and depression.

It is vital for your health and happiness to continue to be social in retirement.

For example, make lunch or dinner together with friends, grab a coffee with a neighbor, Skype with distant family members, babysit your grandchildren, do volunteer work or follow classes and meet like-minded people with the same interests.

6) Create A Work Out Routine

According to the CDC, elderly people need to have at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity twice a week. But you can spread this out and try to exercise every day in retirement.

Whether you’re going for walk around the block, lifting weights, or going for a swim. Being psychically active is extremely important for your health.

Besides the benefits of strengthening your muscles, managing your weight, and reducing the risks of many diseases. Exercising also improves your mental health. It’s a great mood booster.

According to Harvard Medical School“Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that is the body’s natural painkillers, and mood elevators.”

7) Keep Your Brain Active

Besides being socially and physically active. Keeping your brain active in retirement makes your chances of enjoying your retirement as long and as healthy as possible a lot bigger. The key to a successful retirement is having a combination of social, physical, and mental activities.

For example, meditation is a great way to start your day with a clear and peaceful mind. With meditation, you’re training your mind in awareness. It’s not about turning off your thoughts or feelings. You learn to observe them without judgment. And with daily meditation sessions, you will have a better understanding of your thoughts and feelings. You can fit this into your everyday schedule in retirement and make it a routine to help you stay in the right mind state.

Besides meditating there are all sorts of other ways to keep your brain active. Activities that are healthy for your brain but also fun. You can find these tips in my ebook: Five Steps To Happiness In Retirement.

8) Create A Positive Morning Routine

If you win the morning, you win your retirement day.

How you start your day is crucial. When you start your day in the best way possible, you will have an excellent time for the rest of the day. Find something that you love to do in the morning so you can start the rest of the day fresh, positive, and full of energy.

Daily routines are crucial if you want a more structured retirement day. A good morning routine helps you start your day in a great way. And helps you stay focused, energized, and fresh for the rest of the day. You can lean on something that repeats every day.

Having positive daily routines helps you to structure your day, and set priorities. It brings you closer to your goals and motivates you to make the most out of your day. Put your daily routine in your calendar, so you remind yourself to continue this routine every day. Adapting to a new habit usually takes at least 30 days, so try to remind yourself of your new routine for at least 30 days.

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    9) Plan Ahead

    You want to structure your retirement days by planning. Not fill up your agenda, but have a few things planned every day, so you have something to look forward to. But also have enough time during the day to do spontaneous things because retirement is freedom and being in charge of your own schedule.

    Try not to live your retired life through a full agenda and from appointment to appointment, but be free and flexible to do whatever you want. And let appointments be things to look forward to.

    10) Stick To A Sleeping Schedule

    Sticking to a sleeping schedule helps your body find a natural rhythm and keeps your sleep-wake cycle healthy. It means waking up every day at the same time and going to bed at the same time—this way, your body knows when to be active and when to wind down.

    Your body has an internal clock and plays a vital role in regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Hormones are released in the morning to wake you up, and other hormones help you unwind at the end of the day so you can fall asleep quickly. Sticking to a sleeping schedule helps you to have a more structured day. It gives your body the structure that it needs to perform the best at the times you needed it to be.

    An irregular sleeping schedule can cause irritability, drowsiness, mood swings, concentration, memory problems, headaches, and decline in cognitive skills. So prioritizing your sleeping schedule helps you stay healthy and in a good mood during your retirement days.

    According to the Sleep Foundation, adults need to sleep 7-8 hours a night. 

    11) Set Goals

    Setting a goal that excites you is the easiest recipe to get out of bed in the morning. It’s a great way to fuel your ambition and feel good about yourself after achieving these goals. So if you have a dream, make sure to set your goal to achieve that dream. And a great tip is to cut the goal into small daily tasks so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

    Setting goals makes prioritizing your time very easy and you immediately have something to strive after. For some awesome ideas, you can find inspiration in my article: 101 Ideas For Your Retirement Bucket List.

    12) Make A To-Do List

    Nothing feels better than ticking off tasks from your to-do list. So make a to-do list with things that are important to you. But also keep in mind that you are retired you don’t have to be productive or stay busy the whole time. Keep your priorities straight and don’t get caught up with all the things you think you need to do. Schedule your most things to do for a week and leave enough gaps for spontaneity.

    13) Break Your Day Into Chunks

    If you don’t want to lose focus and interest it’s best to not spend too much time on the same thing. If you break your day into chunks where you have set breakfast, lunch, and dinner times you can spread out your activities between those set times. Plan in coffee times if you tend to not give yourself any breaks. It helps you stay fresh and not exhausted at the end of the day.

    14) Alternate Activities

    Alternating activities during the day keep your retirement day interesting, energized, and more fun.

    It’s the combination of mental, physical, and social activities that keeps you energized. And is the key to a successful and happy retirement.

    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. 

    In my ebook: Five Steps To Happiness In Retirement, I have dedicated a whole chapter and created a step-by-step guide on how to spend a day in retirement.

    15) Limit Your Screen Time

    Limiting your screen time is essential to living a happy and healthy retired life. Nobody feels satisfied after a day on the couch zapping through TV stations or binge-watching all sorts of series.

    Also, Social Media is a great source and platform to contact faraway friends and family and see what they are up to doing. You’re doing great when you use social media platforms only that way. But going on Social Media too much in retirement isn’t a healthy activity. You want to nip this in the bud as quickly as possible before it becomes a habit in retirement.

    When you aimlessly scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social media platforms hours every day, you will get an unrealistic view of the world. Life on Social Media isn’t reality. It’s not the best source to get your information on important topics in the world. 

    The disadvantage of having a lot of screen time in retirement is that it makes you feel meaningless and useless. And that is where loneliness and depression can sneak up on you. But not to worry if you get my retirement ebook, you’ll learn more about how to deal with depression in retirement and I give you practical tips on how to avoid it that is backed up by many scientific studies.

    Related questions

    How can I stay busy when I retire? There are many things you can do to stay busy when you’re retired. The most favorite activities of retirees are doing volunteer work, starting a (new) hobby or sport, traveling, gardening, adopting or sitting a pet, or starting a business. Check out our article: How Can I Stay Active In Retirement?

    How do I find my retirement passion? Finding your passion is diving deeper into yourself. You really have to know what your interests are and what makes you really excited. If you’re stuck to answering that question right away, it can help to talk to a life coach or family and friends to get another perspective. Other tactics are to think like a child; what did you like as a child? Changes are you still like it today. Or you can try out new things and discover this way what your passion is. Read our article: 14 Tips How To Find Your Passion In Retirement.

    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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