Stay Active

We can fool ourselves with the myth that dictates "Just give me the free time, I’ll fill it in." This myth might be true for a few weeks or even a few months but then boredom and lethargy can set in. It may be hard to believe but it takes just as much work to ensure that you have an active and fulfilling time in retirement as it does while you're employed.

When you retire, you’ve just found yourself 52 weeks of vacation every year. While you’re working, you look forward to your vacation and weekends as a change of pace from your daily work routines. Will you be ready to face the challenge of all this newly-found time?

Whether you like it or not, while you’re working, your behaviour is largely programmed by your job. When you retire, your system doesn't reprogram itself unless you’ve done some prior conditioning to modify the system. People who are generally successful in adapting to retirement are people who, while working, became active in sports, hobbies or business that they carry on when they retire. As you prepare to transition from a “life of work” to a “life after work,” try to find ways to fill your time that give you:

  • Purpose: A meaning to your life, a reason to get up each day
  • Structure: A pattern and order to your daily schedule
  • A sense of belonging:  Connections with others, an active social network

What will your personal time clock look like when you retire? Take a look at the two clocks below: one for before retirement and one for after.

The time you have available while you are working is divided into work, non-work and leisure. In the Before Retirement clock, sleeping is from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Actual working time from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In the After Retirement clock, the amount of time for sleep is the same, but the rest of the day is unscheduled. Try drawing and filling in your own before and after retirement clocks.

A Week in Retirement

Now that you’ve filled in your after retirement clock, try planning for a full week of activities using the A Week in Retirement worksheet. What will you do during your non-work and leisure time? 

Once you’ve completed the clocks and timetable, you’ll have an idea of the amount of time you would like to devote to various activities during retirement. To further explore what you will do and who you will do it with, “work” through the Life After Work worksheet found in Selecting Activities. Remember to revisit the weekly timetable to add any activities you see yourself doing during retirement.