Retiring from full-time work can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, your time is finally your own, but on the other hand, you can quickly find yourself at a bit of a loose end. The key to enjoying your retirement is to find some activities that will feed your soul and fill your days.
Here, we’ve rounded up a few ideas of things you can do to get the most out of your retirement.
Looking after your health is especially important as you enter your retirement years, and you’ll finally have the time to pursue activities like walking, swimming, tai chi, yoga or pilates. Don’t forget to have a quick chat with your GP before you start any new exercise regime.
Research has proven that volunteering is fantastic for your mental health. There are plenty of opportunities to donate some of your time to a worthy cause, whether it’s helping out at charity shops, collecting for street appeals, driving patients to treatment, or knitting for premature babies. You can find plenty of volunteering opportunities at Volunteering New Zealand.
Take up a sport
If you’ve ever fancied trying your hand at bowls, golf, tennis, darts, pool, croquet or even ballroom dancing, now’s the perfect time to find a local sports club and start learning the basics. Again, check with your GP before taking up a new physical activity.
Find a hobby
The list of hobbies you can do in retirement is endless, and it’s easy to find something to fit any budget. Examples of popular retirement hobbies include genealogy, birdwatching, scrapbooking, gardening, cross-stitching, photography, singing, cooking, reading, model building, writing and knitting.
Take advantage of all your extra free time to finally see the country – or the world! Have you ever wanted to tour New Zealand in a camper van, see the pyramids in Giza, take a train through the Canadian Rockies, cruise the Mediterranean or have dinner at the Eiffel Tower? Depending on your budget, the world is your oyster.
Since you’ll be spending more time at home in retirement, it’s a great time to spruce it up a little. Whether you like to DIY or prefer to leave it to the professionals, planning your improvements and choosing all the elements is a lot of fun.
If you’ve arrived at retirement with a skill-set you would like to share, why not teach it to others? You might be able to impart your woodworking or engineering knowledge at a local Men’s Shed or teach other retirees to knit or crochet at the local Senior Citizen’s centre.
Do you have grandchildren in daycare? You might find it rewarding to look after them for a couple of days each week. Research has found that looking after grandchildren can increase your lifespan by up to five years!
Learn something new
Learning is excellent for both your level of happiness and for keeping your brain healthy. Plus, it’s never too late to learn a new skill! Take up an instrument, learn a new language, improve your computer literacy at with SeniorNet, find a craft class at your local community centre, or study any number of topics online at The Open University.
Games are brilliant to play either alone or socially. Join a chess, bridge, pub quiz or bingo group if you want to make new friends. Or try a gigantic jigsaw puzzle for a solo challenge. More and more seniors are taking up computer gaming. You can play games like crosswords, Scrabble, Sudoku and Candy Crush online, or try your hand at console gaming with something like Wii Sports. There’s even a group in Sweden (the Silver Snipers) who play the computer game Counterstrike competitively.
Whichever activity takes your fancy, retirement is the perfect time to try it!