After decades of work, many individuals who finally enter their long-anticipated and much-earned retirement discover that they feel somewhat less excited and energized than expected. According to global hospitality veteran Rakesh Sarna, the cause for this unexpected unhappiness is not that retirement is difficult. Rather, it is because they no longer feel as productive and fulfilled as they did while working.
After so many years in the workforce, their sense of identity is integrated into what they did for a living, The way to alleviate this stress and start enjoying retirement, is to find new goals and activities that align with one’s preferences, passions, interests and lifestyle adds Rakesh Sarna, who has himself established a scholarship program that provides financial aid to students attending university or college in the U.S. and Canada pursuing studies in hospitality, marketing, human resources and business. He feels that this initiative is aligned with his personal goals and values.
With this in mind, here are three ways that retirees can recapture — or in many cases, surpass — the sense of productivity and fulfilment that they experienced while working:
Volunteer with a Local Organization or Online
Retirees who participate in organized volunteer activities on a regular basis — such as working with children, helping with hunger relief, caring for and feeding shelter animals, and the list goes on — do much more than help others: they also help themselves. Studies have shown that older adults who volunteer boost their physical health and mental well-being. They also build strong relationships with like-minded individuals, which is critically important to combat the loneliness and social isolation that many older people endure. Volunteering is perhaps the simplest and most effective way for retirees to feel a powerful sense of purpose and fulfilment as they are working because they want to — not because they have to — the emotional return on investment can be even greater.
Get a Part-Time Job
A growing number of retirees are finding fulfilment and productivity by getting a part-time job. Some popular occupations for members of the “grey workforce” include retail cashier, customer service representative, virtual assistant, tutor, tax preparer, medical biller/coder, athletic coach, and many others.
Many retirees who re-enter the workforce on a part-time basis enjoy a completely different dynamic compared to what they experienced in the past. These individuals often feel enthusiastic and look forward to contributing, connecting with their co-workers, and of course, boosting their income.
Go Back to School
Lifelong learning is an ideal way for retirees to be productive and fulfilled, while they broaden their horizons. Some colleges and universities offer older learners highly discounted — and in some cases, free — access to courses in everything from art history to political science.
According to Rakesh Sarna: learning also keeps the mind sharp, boosts memory power, and is great for building relationships with fellow students and teachers. Likewise, retirees who want or need to learn from home can enroll in a massive range of free course options available over the web through providers such as Coursera, edX, Open.edu, and many others.
Rakesh reminds individuals that there are many avenues to explore throughout retirement in order to fuel productivity and obtain a sense of fulfillment.