People often engage with a psychologist when working through a transition in life; leaving school, joining the workforce, becoming a parent. One transition that is often seen as a time to sit, relax and lay back is retirement. The difficulty with this approach to retirement is that when we leave employment we loose a part of our identity. This often results in feelings of sadness, frustration, emptiness and anxiety……unless a new identity if formed.
So what should you do when considering retirement? I would recommend building up social connections before retiring, perhaps work part time while you do this. When social connections are established and participated in, a new identity begins to form. You belong to a group and have activities with others to look forward to. You have a place. Added benefits include a reduction in risk of mortality (Umberson & Montez, 2010), memory decline (Ertel, Glymour & Berkman, 2008) and depression (Cruwys et al, 2013).
So those who are retired or planning to be, focus on staying active socially and get out there into our community!