Transitioning from working life to retirement can sound scary. Some people experience happy retirement, whilst others don’t even like to talk about it. But if you think about it, that’s the beauty of retirement – you get to create the life that you want, whether that entails travel, work or taking up new hobbies. The choice is yours.
There are some things worth considering that can help you turn a simple retirement into a meaningful one.
Maintain a positive attitude
Being able to go with the flow will have a huge affect on how you handle areas of your life. There are many changes that can occur during retirement, which can be challenging at times. Sociologists have found a minimum of six different life transitions that affect people who are going through retirement. The transition that seems to affect people the most are physical changes. While this is a natural reaction, it is worth remembering that the way you look in the mirror is only a reflection of your physical self, not your mental or emotional state.
Develop a healthy approach to aging
Being positive about how the future looks is one thing, but healthy aging is also as important. Aging is a completely natural and normal process that affects us all differently, though there are ways that we can ease it by taking care of ourselves. It’s a common belief that being physically healthy is the most important factor towards healthy aging. However, retirement requires us to be mentally healthy as well and might even be more important than the physical aspect. What do you know about healthy mental and physical aging? How are you going to keep yourself nourished in the body and mind?
Visualise the life you desire
Everyone has different ideas of what retirement means. Take some time to think about what comes to mind for your retirement. There is a difference between retiring as part of a financial plan and retiring to stop working. Many people confuse a retirement and financial plan as the same thing, and believe that life will naturally occur as a result. However, retirement requires an all-inclusive examination and plan of action instead of just hoping that things will work themselves out.
Think about what you want out of life, what you will do to take advantage of each passing day, and how you will deal with changes throughout the journey. Answering these types of vital questions will help ease your transition into the next phase, and will make it that much more rewarding.
Reconsider your approach to work
The ways in which you contribute to society is your work. It can also be a method of self-actualisation and help stimulate positive stress. Even if you stop working, you will still want to share your experience, skills and knowledge. If you can develop a positive attitude towards work then you won’t feel the need to have a ‘work free’ retirement. This doesn’t mean that you have to take a time-consuming job, engage in work that you don’t enjoy or receive compensation. Retirees often enjoy volunteering because they feel that it can replace elements that they miss about their former working life.  
Nurture your personal relationships
Our personal relationships are the most important element of our lives. They give our lives meaning and push us towards new goals. We tend to want to share our life’s journey with those that we love. It is common for relationships to give us validation in retirement, and we often need that validation to replace what we experienced at work. Maintaining and nurturing our important relationships allows us to connect and share with others, which psychologists have identified as a basic human need.
People who are happy with their personal relationships tend to have better levels of overall health and less health issues. At the end of the day, simply having people who you love and care about won’t just make your life that much more enjoyable but could also give you more years to enjoy it.
Be socially active
Our social networks become more important the older we get. Retirees tend to have solid social networks that offer them friendship, rewarding activities and a structure to their lives. When you are considering retirement, you may want to think about the social network that you currently have and how it will translate into retirement. As we age our social networks start to get smaller, unless we keep adding to them.
Meeting new people can be done if you get out there and actively participate. It’s a great feeling to have many people that you can depend on, which is why it is important to find opportunities to get out there and socialise.   
Approach leisure in a balanced way
We all need leisure. After all, it refuels us and gets us ready for what’s ahead. We can use leisure to recharge, to create diversion and excitement, or to take a break and think about life. However, leisure should not be the main focus of our lives. Leisure is no longer enjoyable when it becomes the way that we live. Instead of thinking that retirement means a life where you don’t have to do anything, try to find ways to balance leisure with a variety of activities. Jump at opportunities to try new things and stay out of a rut.
Stay comfortable (financially)
Just as some people believe that money can bring them happiness, many retirees believe that financial security will guarantee a happy retirement. But successful retirement cannot be bought. Being financially comfortable means that you can use your financial resources to live your life in a fulfilling way. In order to achieve financial comfort, you have to understand your financial resources and how the life you want to lead will affect your money. You should consider how you’re going to pay for your essential needs, your lifestyle and any emergencies that might occur.
Working on these tips can help you reach a meaningful retirement. However, at the end of the day, your attitude towards retirement will have a profound effect on the next chapter of your life. Making smart choices and looking out for yourself on a physical and emotional level are ways to live a fantastic life, whether or not you are considering retirement.

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