Article Retiring can be a challenging and exciting process. Learn how to deal with the emotions. 0 2023 Life coaching Retirement coaching life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Adjusting to Retirement: Be Prepared for Conflicting Emotions

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Adjusting to retirement

Updated Feb 3, 2022

Retiring can be a challenging and exciting process; you’re transitioning from a busy, work-oriented lifestyle to a much more peaceful and quiet one.

There are many emotions that you will feel throughout this process and the objective of this article is to help you find out what those will be and be prepared on how to handle them.

Often when you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else. Fred Rogers Coaching Quote

Before you finally retire, most of these emotions will be felt all at once. Some days you will feel one way and days later or weeks, you’ll feel entirely different. Remember that this ambivalence of feelings is normal and is all part of the transitioning process. 

  1. Feelings Of Happiness And Sadness: happiness will come from the feeling that you’re finally settling down and leaving your busy work-life behind to relax and feel free. At the same time, you might feel sad for leaving your workplace and colleagues. Feelings of sadness might also come from thinking your life is over or that everything is coming to an end.

  1. Peacefulness and Anxiety: as you get close to finally retiring and finish most of the tasks you must fulfil before your retirement is final, you will begin to feel at ease. The pieces are falling right where they should and everything is running smoothly. Simultaneously, anxiety might overcome you at times. Anxiety will come from fear of what you will do once you retire, whether or not you’re doing the right things or if you feel proud of what you’ve accomplished so far.

  1. Feeling Optimistic And Pessimistic:  just like with all the emotions listed, these will happen simultaneously. You will welcome your future as a newly retired person with open arms but at the same time, the fear of the unknown and what’s to come might make you expect the worse. One of the constant thoughts people have as they retire is that their life is over and they’ve turned into nothing. This thought and its variants can heavily affect your mood and make you look at things in a pessimistic way rather than seeing your retirement as an opportunity to transition into a new lifestyle and reinvent yourself.

Be prepared for these conflicting emotions when you retire

To properly handle these emotions you need to understand where they’re coming from and handle them with patience. Be kind to yourself and remember that it is normal to feel these emotions all at once or through different stages of your retirement. 



1. Is it normal to have mixed feelings about retirement?

Experiencing a major life change like retirement is never easy. And having mixed feelings about it is totally normal and understandable. For example, being anxious about what you’ll do next week, or from now on is natural, especially if you’ve established your routine for many years. (It's like being in auto-pilot mode for decades!)

Yet the beauty of retirement also brings you peace. Since you can finally do whatever you want. And the best part: you don’t have urgent tasks or deadlines to meet. Things can be tough in the first few weeks or months of retiring. But trust me, you’re going to love it!

2. Why do I feel sad about retiring?

Feeling sad about retiring? Well, you’re not alone. Imagine this, you’ve spent more than half of your life working and providing for your family and for yourself. Then what? You’re now left at home, suddenly with all the time in your hands but without a clear purpose of what to do next. 

Your sadness can also be because you feel nostalgic about the good old days with your colleagues who became your close friends over the years. You may think that since you have already retired, you won’t have your social life anymore. This is why planning for your retirement is essential. This way, you’ll have days to look forward to such as trying something new, doing what you used to enjoy, or even meeting with friends.

3. What are the emotional effects of retirement?

Just like any major life transition, those who retire face a range of emotions. To some, retirement feels like winning a prize after working hard for many years. It’s when you have a taste of freedom to finally do the things you want at your own pace. But to others, retirement can bring feelings of sadness or anxiety, being unsure of what to do next. It can also lead them to do some soul-searching to find their purpose in life and how they can still feel useful despite their age. Still, some who initially felt happy and excited later become bored and feel unfulfilled. 

Whatever emotion you feel after you retire, don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to yourself and take each day at a time. Remember, you deserve this kind of rest, so give it to yourself.

4. How can I be happy during retirement?

Retirement can be fun and exciting once you’ve prepared for it. You can choose to be happy during retirement! Just follow these tips and get ready for the new road ahead.

  1. Have a retirement fund. Check your finances and set aside a part of your earnings to ensure you’re worry-free when you retire.
  2. Make a wish list of the things you want to do.
  3. Maintain a healthy mind and body. Do things that mentally excite you and do exercise to keep you active.
  4. Reconnect with your circle. Retirement means you’ll have more time with friends and family, and even create new networks. 
  5. Share your time and expertise with others. You’re the best person who can train or lead others to improve their lives. It’s time to give back what you know.

What now?

Contact one our our retirement coaches or transition coaches or put in a request and we will match you to a great coach.

Living each day as if it were your last doesn't mean your last day of retirement on a remote island. It means to live fully, authentically and spontaneously with nothing being held back. Jack Canfield Coaching Quote


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The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, recommended treatments, or professional advice. Readers should consult with a licensed professional to get advice for their individual situation. See the Disclaimer and Terms of Use for more information. Copyright Life Coach Hub Ltd 2016. A community of life coaches dedicated to improving your life.
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