4 ways to help you enjoy a fulfilling retirement

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Our retirement years probably represent the period in our lives when we have the greatest control over what we do with our time. After we finish work, we’re handed an empty diary and given the freedom to fill it how we wish. It’s a big lifestyle change and can go in any direction you want, but there is one thing we all seek in retirement – to be happy.

If you’re looking for a few ideas, here are 4 lifestyle activities which could help you enjoy a fun and fulfilling retirement.

1. Discovering new places and pursuing your hobbies

Going on holiday

Start off by thinking about what you’d really love to do – maybe you’re up for a more physical adventure, a bit of culture diving or even some rest and relaxation? There are so many options and it’s only fair that you use your retirement to explore them.

Next, possibly the hardest decision of all – where would you like to go? With different countries and travel options posing unique financial questions, it’s important to find the right balance between choosing somewhere that enables you to do the things you’d like, and somewhere that won’t force you to overspend.

When it comes to making that final choice, here are a few money saving tips for planning a joyful and purposeful holiday:

  • Set yourself a budget and determine how much money you’d like to spend on accommodation, travel, food and activities. By having an idea of your potential outlays, you’re likely to enjoy your holiday with fewer financial worries and plan a trip that allows you to have fun, whilst minimising the likelihood of overspending.
  • If you want to go abroad, you’ll have to change your currency in order to make purchases. With currency rates fluctuating constantly, you can keep an eye on rates to make sure you get the best value for money.
  • A staycation can just be as good as venturing abroad – with the added benefit of potentially lower travel costs, expenses or extensive planning. Some nice places to consider for your staycation include:
    • Physical adventures – the natural beauty of the Lake District is a rambler’s dream, with breath-taking scenery guiding you through endless walks.
    • Culture diving – if it were possible to measure historical and cultural density, Edinburgh would surely come out on top.
    • Rest and relaxation – the weather isn’t always perfect, but the beaches and relaxed way of life in Cornwall are ideal for those looking to de-stress and recuperate.

Things to do from home

The wonderful thing about discovering fun and excitement is that it can be found anywhere – even in your own home or community. Few things bring more joy and purpose to our lives than a hobby which means something to us. And with the diary on your side, retirement offers you an opportunity to not just dedicate more time to old hobbies, but the freedom to find new ones too.

For hobbies you can do around your own house, the likes of gardening, sewing and painting are activities that are likely to require minimal financial outlay – but could lead to both mental and physical health benefits. Not only that, they could also help you to save and make a little bit of money over the course of your retirement. Growing your own vegetables could cut down on the grocery shop, repairing old clothes and making new ones could mean fewer trips to the shopping centre, and someone might buy the nice piece of art that you paint.

2. Learning new things

It’s never too late to diversify your knowledge and skills. With more options for learning than ever before, you’ll be sure to find something that works for you.

Formal education

The National Careers Service is one of many places you can browse and review educational courses, to see what takes your interest as well as information on what, where and how you’ll learn. Should you prefer a more hands-on and practical programme, you could look at courses on car maintenance, creative writing or graphic design. On the other hand, if you prefer studying in a more traditional sense, you may be tempted by courses on sustainability or ancient history.

Developing everyday skills

Education doesn’t have to be learning something completely new – developing existing skills that can help you in everyday life is just as inspiring.

YouTube is a useful resource for finding tutorials that could help you to improve almost every skill imaginable. For example, maybe you’d like to get better at cooking? In that case, there are hundreds of channels dedicated to making tastier, healthier and prettier meals for you to eat at home. Whether you’re into baking, fine dining or fast food, there are so many options to choose from.

On a more regional level, your local council may run a number of free community programmes for helping people to develop new skills for example, gardening and public speaking. It’s always worth seeing what they have on offer.

Helping grandchildren with their homework

If you have grandchildren, it can be rewarding to help them with their homework. Not only is it lovely family time, but you may also pick up some new skills along the way. The modern school curriculum covers everything from long division to William Shakespeare, so there are bound to be gaps in your knowledge that can be filled.

3. Looking after your physical and mental wellbeing

Physical wellbeing

As you head into retirement, it’s not uncommon to worry about how your body will react to a more relaxed lifestyle.

At home, there are several exercises suitable to do at no cost. With a little bit of space, you could dedicate some time to yoga or aerobics – even simple stretches could help you to feel and be healthier. Alternatively, if you’re happy to spend some money on getting fit at home, the Nintendo Switch is a games console which provides a range of exercises from simple movements to workouts, and you could even involve the grandchildren for extra fun.

Outside of the house, you’ll undoubtedly find many options to explore within your local area. Sports and fitness clubs are a great place to start, many of whom will offer activities for people of all age groups and abilities. More specifically, walking groups are an excellent way to get out and about with people from your community – Ramblers Wellbeing Walks is an online resource for finding walking groups near you.

Mental wellbeing

Just as important as our physical health, is our mental health.

Retirement poses a variety of difficulties when it comes to our mental wellbeing. Possible loneliness and isolation, as it becomes harder to travel around, or feeling like you’ve lost purpose as you transition out of work. Thankfully, there are a variety of activities you can do to try combat these:

  • Community groups – it’s likely that your local council hosts numerous community support groups to help those in retirement to socialise. Community social media groups are another great place for finding out about group activities going on in your area.
  • Family activities – your family can play a huge part in helping you to adapt to the retired lifestyle. Scheduling in regular family time could make a difference to your mental health.
  • ‘Me’ time – don’t be afraid to dedicate time to yourself. Maybe work on your hobbies or simply take some time to do absolutely nothing.

4. Volunteering with a charity

When it comes to finding purpose in retirement, you might find that there are few activities more rewarding than taking time to support a charity or your local community.

Charities up and down the country are constantly in search for fundraisers and volunteers. By picking a cause that means something to you and getting in touch to learn about the opportunities, there’s no doubt that you’ll find joy and purpose in your retirement.

Thinking closer to home, it’s likely that your local council or community group will be looking for volunteers to help with various outreach programmes. Whether you end up supporting an after-school club or maintaining flower beds – contributing to your community can be a rewarding experience.

Enjoy a happy retirement

It can be a shock to go from working every day to having almost an unlimited amount of free time. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a fun and fulfilling retirement.

If you’re approaching retirement soon and have been inspired by some of the ideas in this article, you can read more tips on how to prepare retirement now. Our financial wellbeing hub also features our financial wellbeing flipbook and helpful tools – to provide you with positive ways for you to think and act about your future and finances – so that you can feel better equipped for this next stage of your life.