Most of us look forward to retirement as a season of freedom, rest and recreation after many decades spent in the workforce. Yet once we retire, the reality can be quite different. It may seem hard to imagine – especially when you’re headed off to work on a rainy Monday morning! However, a bumpy adjustment to retirement can really undermine our enjoyment of the early and most active retirement years.

So, how can we set ourselves up to start enjoying retirement from day one?

Consider these ideas –

Cultivate interests outside work

If you’ve had a busy working life you may not have had time to explore hobbies and interests outside work. It can take time to find things you really enjoy. Exploring your interests before you retire will give you some ‘go to’ activities while you are finding your feet in retirement.

Think about a routine ahead of time

Don’t wait until you have stopped working to think about how you’re going to organise your time. Even though you may balk at the idea of a routine in retirement (after all, aren’t we ready for some freedom!) having one can be very grounding. You may end up changing your routine many times, but it will still provide some structure as you get used to not working.

Keep the lines of communication open

If you have a partner, make time to talk about how things will change once you retire. This is especially important if your partner has already retired and has an established routine and activities. Talk about how much time you expect to spend together, the things you will do independently and how household chores will be shared.

Spread out the high points

Most people plan some special things to celebrate their retirement. Travel and home renovations are often high on the list. The key is avoiding the danger of falling flat afterwards. Try and think in terms of short, medium and long term ‘high points’. That way you will still have some things on the horizon to look forward to.

Retirement is indeed a great chapter of life. Make the most of it – starting from day one!