Finally, you are retired. Now you have all the time to accomplish anything you desire without worrying about official duties. But did you plan for this? Have you prepared a bucket list of things to do? And then what's next after you accomplish everything on your to-do list?
Do you want to enjoy the coming years to the fullest? Too many fall prey to a retirement trap of repeating the same routine, failing to experience new things, and ultimately suffering from boredom. If you are among those who want to lead an exciting life after retiring, then you are in the right place! However, sometimes things don't go as you may have planned. You might be faced with financial setbacks or any other reasons that spoil your plans. And it's at this point where boredom creeps in.
Many become frustrated and even depressed for not being able to accomplish their goals. Regardless of the situation you are in, it is important to note that boredom presents a serious health risk.
Why are Older Adults Frequently Affected by Boredom?
No one likes being in a state of boredom. Unfortunately, older adults and retirees are often the most affected by this condition. This is due to lifestyle changes after retirement. It becomes tough for many seniors to come to terms with their new lifestyle. Many retirees shift from busy work schedules to a much slower and less-stressful day-to-day and no longer have a specific routine to follow.
Many people dream of retirement as a great gift for their many years of work and service. However, things often turn out to be quite different when the time to retire finally arrives. The feeling and state of retiring are not how they imagined. The loss of daily routine, friends, family contact, and their contribution to society begins to take a toll on their health. And in too many cases, retirees end up suffering from loneliness and depression.
According to recent statistic findings, the rate of boredom in seniors is highest in men. It also indicates that suicide rates are highest among those 75+.
Is Boredom a Danger to Senior Health?
Generally, everyone experiences boredom. When it's brief, this is a normal feeling. However, when prolonged due to the absence of a stimulant, it can negatively affect health and quality of life. This effect is far greater in older adults and retirees than any other age group. This population is more prone to mental health risks like depression, anxiety, social isolation, and loneliness.
It's also not just mental health that is affected. The side effects of boredom can lead to physical health risks, as well. Increased levels of boredom can make one susceptible to stroke and heart attack. Additionally, the absence of mental stimulation can help contribute to the development of dementia and cognitive decline. Further, the loss of social interaction that comes with retirement often leads to a greater sense of loss when retirees feel disconnected from friends, colleagues at work, and their daily routine. As a result, among other reasons, older adults commonly experience the following:
- A feeling of being unloved
- A feeling of worthlessness
- Intense restlessness
- Suicidal thoughts
These feelings are difficult to address on their own without the right plan. As such, it is crucial to find ways to avoid boredom to remain healthy.
How Can Seniors Avoid Boredom and its Dangers?
Do you like to perform volunteer work? If so, then this is a great opportunity. Plus, it's a great way to contribute to the community. Depending on your preferences and abilities, you can choose to volunteer at hospitals, children's parties, nursing homes, street fairs, or local events, among others. So pick wisely and ensure you will be comfortable with the venue where you will be offering your service.
- Work for Fun
Prior to retirement, the thought of working another job might have made you feel exhausted. However, a few months after retirement, many realize the significant role work played in their daily routines. Retirement doesn't mean you cannot work anymore. Thought, instead of doing the same old job for longer, you can choose to venture into your dream work.
This could be the work you could not do for financial reasons, time commitment, training, or various other reasons. Going back to work in retirement, the work will be because you want to be there. The focus here is ensuring you enjoy yourself rather than focusing on salary and the stresses of being employed. And through this, you don't have to worry about being bored. Plus, you'll bring in some extra income at the same time to spend on other hobbies or interests!
Not ready to commit to a job? Consider freelancing or participating in the gig economy!
- Explore Your Creativity
When is the last time you unleashed your creative side? Perhaps it's time to express yourself. For example, if your creativity lies in drawing, it's time to give a full shot. Over the years, friends and families may have complimented you on this skill or any other. Thus, it's about time you prove them right.
It's not just about drawing either! Consider any of these following ideas or create your own:
Get all the necessary tools you need and work on your creative side. Further, you can do this as a hobby or decide to venture into it as a business. However, if you are to turn this craft into your retirement business, you have to perfect your skills and deliver exceptional work.
- Travel Adventure
Travel adventures are fun and exciting ways to avoid boredom in retirement. They give you a chance to enjoy what you've missed throughout your working life. Through the adventure, you can relax and appreciate the fruits of your labor.
All you have to do is list your dream places to visit and plan appropriately how you will get to each. You can begin by exploring the attractions within your country in the first years after retirement. And if you have a reasonable budget, then you can explore other breathtaking attractions beyond your borders.
Alternatively, you can focus your trips on particular themes. In this case, if you love music, ensure you don't miss out on the finest music attractions around your region or across the borders. And the same applies to food, battlefields, wine, architecture, art, or whatever interests you most! Don't forget to bring along a good camera to take pictures!
Discover Your Passion
One of the many reasons people get bored is due to a lack of passion for what they are doing. And this is precisely what happens for many retirees. After retirement, their passion for their respective jobs is lost, and as such, they end up facing boredom. Thus, older adults need to discover new passions once they retire. With a new passion, they will have goals to fulfill, leaving no space for boredom. But how can you discover a new passion?
It's all about being closer to yourself. You need to learn the things you love and those you detest. To ensure you are on the right track to discovering your passion, think about the following questions:
- What do you love to do and never get bored of it?
- Is there something you regret not doing more often?
- What do you love to talk about?
- Are there subjects you could read about every day?
Once you've thought about and answered the above questions, you will be able to discover your passions more easily. By pursuing the right passion, boredom will be a thing of the past. While you answer these questions, do not overthink. Keep it simple, and you will find what your heart desires. If you feel stuck, ask close friends and relatives what they think. This exercise might help to remind of interests you haven't yet considered!
Create a Retirement Plan
Do you have a retirement plan? If you don't, it's about time you create one. This is great, especially if you are closer to retirement. When you plan, you will be leaving no room for regrets, loneliness, depression, and boredom. Therefore, your plan should include what you are going to do next once you are retired and back at home.
Are you going to spend the remaining part of your life bored, or will you seek new and exciting adventures to embark on? And as you plan, you should also be open-minded. Sometimes things don't go as you plan.
And if that's the case with you, then ensure you have a plan B to consider. This will not only prevent you from getting bored but also will ensure you don't get frustrated in case your plan fails.
Be Courageous and Don't be Shaken by Boredom
Brief boredom is quite normal. Don't be shaken by it. What you should be worried about is chronic boredom, as it can lead to serious health complications. So, is it okay to feel bored momentarily? Yes, it's okay. And this is because it is handy in enabling you to improve yourself.
In most cases, boredom is a result of low stimulation due to a bad experience. But through being bored, you can find a solution to your challenge from a different angle, and in the process, you get a spark of stimulation that boosts your activity.
But where does boredom come from during retirement? Boredom plays a vital role in our lives when it's under control. It motivates you to pursue and accomplish new goals every time you are done with your previous goals.
And this is what you've been doing throughout your working life. After retiring, you need to find a new purpose to fulfill in order to avoid chronic boredom, which is harmful to your health, both physically and mentally.
It's never too late to learn something new, which is an excellent means of remaining active after retirement. As you learn something new, you will be too busy to get bored or focus on disconnections and disrupt your routine after retiring. Further, you will have a new routine to look forward to.
And this is precisely what you need if you want to avoid focusing on what you've lost and instead focus on what you will gain. You can decide to learn something new about music, language or other skills. And if you love cooking, then this is an opportunity to learn new skills as well as improve on the ones you have. If all these don't excite you, exploring the world is another exciting option. Through this, you can learn the various cultural backgrounds, political backgrounds, and even fascinating histories of different places within and beyond your borders.
Therefore, don't allow boredom and the negative consequences behind it to spoil the remaining part of your life. Use that opportunity to learn the different things that the world has to offer.
Brief boredom is quite normal for everyone. However, when it prolongs, it becomes a health threat. And when left addressed, it may become a chronic health risk.
That's why it's important to avoid boredom in retirement. By doing this, retirees will be able to lead a healthy lifestyle better appreciate their retirement. Finally, the effective way to tackle boredom is by addressing it head-on. Remember to actively engage in hobbies, be socially active, and implement the above tips on avoiding boredom and its dangers.