Planning for a happy and healthy retirement

Don't let retirement sneak up on you

    After many years of a busy working life, retirement is a big transition with significant change. The prospect of retiring can feel both exciting and overwhelming. Thinking ahead and planning for this next stage of life can help us all to make the most of the opportunities it can bring.

    Pension and financial planning is very important. But preparing for your retirement is about more than just your finances.

    See our top tips below to help you plan for a happy and healthy retirement.

    Stay connected

    Work offers many social opportunities. For some people, friends and social activities are very much connected with their job or workplace. If this is the case for you, think about how you will fill your day in other ways and how you could build new connections. 

    Connecting with others outside of work can help you find new interests and stay social. Volunteering and getting involved in your local community is a great way to keep busy, helping you transition into retirement. It’ll help you meet new people, share skills and expertise, continue learning and provide purpose. 

    Explore the huge variety of social clubs and groups to join (remember to select your location). New members are always welcome.

    You can stay connected online too. Libraries run courses to help if you get stuck and have free-to-use computers.  Read our ‘Get Online’ section for more information.

    If you are able, you could think about retiring gradually without giving up work altogether (often called ‘phased retirement'). Or you could retire and find a part-time job. This could make the transition from working life to retirement easier, give you time to explore new ways of connecting, and allow you to find the work/life balance that suits you.

    Stay active

    Whether you are retiring from work completely, or planning a phased retirement, it is helpful to think about how you will keep both your body and your mind active.

    Consider scheduling in time for things that you were unable to prioritise whilst working. Maybe challenge yourself to learn a language or do a charity walk. Building new activities into a regular routine will help you stay motivated and find a sense of accomplishment.

    Keep your mind active by learning new things. Local libraries offer many, often free, short courses and workshops. Have a look at our Adult learning and training opportunities.

    Plan regular time outside - being in nature improves our mood. Combine it with being physically active for an extra boost! For example joining a local walking group or gardening (look for community gardening groups or become a volunteer gardener if you don’t have a garden yourself) .

    Make time to move. Discover the many physical activity and exercise groups / clubs on offer (remember to select your location). It is particularly important to focus on activities that increase strength and balance to stay steady and strong. 

    If you need help planning your journey to an activity, visit My Journey Planner.

    If your health is not as you would like it to be, or you have a disability or long-term condition, you can still enjoy a full and active retirement. See our Getting and about section for help and ideas.

    Do the things you love

    Retirement is an opportunity to prioritise doing the things you love. This could mean spending more time on existing hobbies. You could join a group with others who share a particular interest. Or you may want to take up a new hobby and try something you have never tried before.

    Our community directory has hundreds of groups and activities. If you have a particular interest, try typing a key word in the search bar. For example, drama or bowls. Or just browse our Entertainment and leisure listings (remember to select your location).

    Stay positive and look after your wellbeing

    Once you have planned how you would like to spend your retirement, it is important to do things to stay as healthy as possible so that you can enjoy it! 

    Be proactive about looking after your health and wellbeing. Just as in every other stage of life it is important to eat well, not smoke, not drink too much, and take up the offer of free NHS Health Checks and flu jabs. 

    Make the most of retirement. Feeling low or anxious is not a normal part of ageing. If things are making you feel down don’t ‘just get on with it’. Seeking early help can enable you to feel more like yourself again, and often it won’t involve taking any medication. Discover a range of support options, from things you can do yourself, to local Talking Therapy services (called IAPT services).