Retirement: the mecca of unlimited vacation time, and the point we work our entire lives for. Sometimes, though, retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and in general, men seem to find their excess of downtime to be a bit overwhelming. While some men find it easy to make the switch from heading into work every day to having unplanned weeks, many men find themselves dealing with severe anxiety about the entire transition. If your husband has recently retired and is struggling to transition into his life outside of the professional sector, keep these tips in mind to help him find his way in this new retired world and save your mind and your marriage from unnecessary stress.
With less than 20 percent of couples retiring in the same year in the United States in recent years, it stands to reason that you and your husband will both be transitioning. It might be that you’ve been retired with plenty of free time and now he’ll be joining you, or you might still be in the work force and he’ll be home on his own a lot more often.
Encourage His Friendships
One of the things we miss most after retiring is the lack of human interaction. There might be days you never leave the house, meaning you won’t talk to anyone but each other and possibly your dog or cat. While this is okay for small periods of time, it can contribute to a sense of loneliness if it happens too many days in a row. With this in mind, make sure your husband keeps up with old friends and encourage his relationships. This might mean helping him host a poker night with his buddies on a night during the week, or planning double dates with acquaintances so you two can have more human interaction than just with each other.
Sometimes our jobs give us a sense of purpose, and losing that can make us feel lost in more ways than one. If your husband has mentioned feelings of uselessness, nip that sensation in the bud by getting involved in philanthropic efforts that will give both of you a higher sense of purpose, and see his face light up when he realizes he’s still an important and contributing member of your community. It truly can make all the difference, and studies have proven that giving back to those around us makes us happier and healthier individuals, which will be a plus for both of you.
Help Him Rediscover His Passions
He’s left with ample free time, and after 30-plus years in the workforce, he’s likely at a loss with how to fill the empty hours. Help him rediscover his passions and encourage his hobbies to ensure he fills his time with activities that make him happy. Need to give him a nudge in the right direction? Check out gifts for men that pay tribute to his once favorite hobbies. Maybe it’s personalized golf apparel that will inspire him to get back out on the course, gardening tools that will see him heading out to the backyard to tend the garden that’s been ignored for far too long.
Plan Plenty of Trips
Sometimes life is about stringing together the exciting things, and what’s more exciting than planning a trip and enjoying the anticipation that comes along with waiting for it to arrive? If you two love to travel, make sure you start planning fun excursions as soon as possible. Purchase a large wall map from MapSales.com, grab some colorful push pins and sit together one evening putting a pin in every place you want to see in the next decade. This fun activity is sure to get your creative juices flowing and you’ll find yourself on Orbitz.com booking your first adventure in no time.
If your husband has been struggling with his current or impending retired status, make the transition easier on both of you by encouraging him to make the most of his newly discovered free time. These ideas are sure to make you both happier and strengthen your marriage through this transition period.
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Main Image: m3th0s via Flickr