Retirement (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

When we’re young and wanting only to sleep in a few extra hours past our alarm for work, we dream of the day we can hang up our working shoes and snuggle into retirement and old age. However, many young, self-proclaimed tired workers don’t realize the unexpected consequences retirement may actually have on our health. While retirement is unquestionably a time to cherish and celebrate, it is also important that we realize that it will likely require a huge life adjustment.

We spend our entire lives building a career and a life supported by this career. Our work and our jobs become so much more than just that—they are our life and an aspect of what makes us who we are. With so much of our identity residing in the work we do each day, it’s not hard to imagine the struggles retirement might be met with. While the issue of adjustment and mental and physical health worries exist for all individuals entering retirement, historically men hold their careers as more central indicators of their identities. Consider these mental and physical adjustments you can make to your daily life in order to retire in a happier and healthier state.


Of course, exercise and diet play an essential role in our overall health regardless of our age or place in life. This is something most all of us know. Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet do wonders to keep us healthy and maintain a strong mental state. However, when we enter retirement, we’re faced with significantly more time on our hands and significantly fewer responsibilities. One of the most difficult aspects of retirement for men can be losing that daily time consuming responsibility. We create a pattern of waking up at the same time, going to work, fulfilling our responsibilities, and rewarding ourselves at the end of the day with some “downtime”. Without the constant pattern of going to work each day, it can be very easy for the newly retired to lose sight of their sense of personal fulfillment. Try to create new daily patterns by exercising each and every day at the same time. Make exercise your new daily activity and routine. This is great for your physical health, necessary for your mental clarity, and can be extremely important in adjusting to your new daily life.

Find a hobby
Just as exercise and meal planning can become a wonderful replacement for daily activities, hobbies can also be extremely important during retirement. In many ways, men define who they are by the work that they perform. Entering retirement can really fragment an individual’s sense of being, even without them realizing it. By picking up a meaningful and time-consuming hobby, men can find a renewed sense of self-worth and awareness, while also filling their time with something important to them. Obviously, this hobby varies from one individual to the next—finding something that suits your interests and is sustainable is very important.
Extended learning
Mental wellness is a huge concern for individuals who have recently retired. Many men fall into bouts of depression or anxiety when their life circumstances alter because of retirement. That being said, there are many ways to combat this negativity associated with retirement at times. As the online world continues to flourish and expand, useful resources for education and extended learning are becoming more and more accessible and effective. Education can be a wonderful activity for retired individuals to take part in. Not only will taking classes, studying educational materials, and expanding one’s mind encourage the mental faculties, it can also bring greater joy and purpose to an individual’s life. Explore your many options on sites like Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware, TED talks, or the Khan Academy. These online resources offer easy and exceptional avenues for learning and education that can be extremely worthwhile for individuals interested in extending their education in their retirement.

This guest post is provided by Mariana Ashley, who writes about educational issues for and can be reached by email at