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4 Tips for Easing into Retirement

By Marcia Smalley October 29, 2022 Lifestyle

We navigate change all of the time because change is constant. Fortunately, we’ve also developed coping skills that make transitions easier. Retirement is a major life change that more and more of us are facing, either by default or by design. We’re now learning some specific ways to better manage that change, too.

Research and anecdotal conversation with retirees support that these four things make the transition into retirement a little easier.

Take Your Time

Retirement signals both endings and beginnings. It also brings some uncertainty. One way to ease your journey is to press pause and go into discovery mode.

College students take a gap year. Retirees can, too.

Take the time you need to feel your way into retirement.

Explore what you’re curious about. 

Talk to people who are doing things you find interesting. 

Experiment with hobbies, ideas, new skills.

Lean into leisure. Play! Rest.

Plan Early

We’re conscientious about planning for a lot of life events: weddings, new homes, babies, new jobs. We’re not always planful about retirement (financial security excepted), which is surprising since many of us could have upwards of 20 years of retired life to live.

If you find yourself musing about retirement, you’re ready to start planning. And that can be as simple as thinking ahead and taking note.

Consider your answers to these and similar questions that impact you mentally, physically, and emotionally during retirement:

How do you want to spend your days?

What do you value?

Which relationships nourish you and deserve your time?

Where do you want to be when you walk out your front door?

What aspects of your physical well-being need your attention?

Set Boundaries

Managing time during retirement is one of the biggest and possibly least talked about hurdles that new retirees in particular face. All those unfilled moments are glorious, but they can quickly be taken up by “stuff.”

Maybe a former employer asks you to work part-time, a commitment that grows into more than you intended.

Or a volunteer opportunity becomes a full-time job without benefits or a paycheck. 

Maybe well-intentioned family members begin incurring on your time a little too often.

Practice setting boundaries. Have a polite but firm response to requests you want to decline. Choose what works for you.

Work Your Plan

Working any plan requires the ability to pivot… life happens, and we need to adjust. We can experience some fits and starts.

It can take a while to get our retired ducks in a row, too. Stay the course, remain patient, tweak things as you go. And keep going!

If life gets the better of you and your plan falls apart, seek support to become more comfortable with the unknown.

Every path has bumps. But the path into retired life doesn’t have to be peppered with land mines. There are ways to make the journey easier so the benefits can be sweeter… and the rewards can be celebrated. 

What can you do to ease into retirement? What suggestions worked for you if you’re already retired? Join the conversation!

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I never gave retirement a thought other than my 401k. I had financial responsibilities, single and for the most part enjoyed my job. Finally at the age of 75 I realized that I needed to retire as it was taking a toll on me physically and mentally. Prior to retirement my life was on a never schedule of appointments. I lived by the clock. As you can imagine all of a sudden I had no place to go and no purpose I got depressed and sought counseling. At my age all of a sudden you dont have the energy,stamina, and strength which also added to my depression. I worked too long and advise that retirement should be in your sixties. Now I have a big house to clean out and it is exhausting. I have been told that downsizing needs to be done in your sixties when you have the energy. I come from a family of long time livers and I assumed I would be ok.

Marcia Smalley

I’m wishing you well, Kathleen. You’re not alone … your experience is similar to what many people go through. It sounds difficult right now, so be gentle with yourself. Take small steps with things like purging your house (which can not only be physically demanding but also emotionally draining). Thank you for reading.

denise amari balfe

I too will be retiring in approx 1.5 yrs and a bit nervous. How will I fill my days? Looking for part-time work and hoping to make new friendships that will help me thru this.-Denise


Keep open to new discoveries right in your own back yard! My husband and I recently remodeled parts of our home. Projects and working together help to affirm you are on the right track. Follow your passion to find your purpose is always rewarding and satisfying at any age. Be a contribution to others! Share your wisdom and knowledge its needed and often appreciated.


Continue doing what you love after retirement just scale down a little bit…we need interaction we need affirmation ..these two things that can fall by the way side after retirenent we need to be aware of our needs and carer for them

Karen 65 ,3 month retiree…

Linn Parks

I have been retired for around a year and a half now and always knew what I wanted to be doing. I am fortunate enough to have 2 wonderful community centers around me that have so much to offer like all kinds of exercising classes, Art classes, day trips, seminars, workshops and so much they are very well runned and so resourceful. I have joined some Meet Up groups before I retired that I go out with other ladies for lunches,coffee, movies, and other events plus in additional I go out with friends that I have met here and there for breakfast and lunch, etc. I absolutely love being retired and it is what I was hoping it would be and more I am so very grateful.


I wish there was a list in order what to do when thinking about and actually retiring.

Marcia Smalley

Thanks for reading, Ellen. I work with clients on the key aspects of retired life that deserve our attention as we plan. But the list of what to do first, second, etc. really depends on what’s top of mind and feels most important or concerning to you. It never hurts to seek some guidance so you can get some clarity about that and about the steps you want to take. Wishing you the best!

The Author

Marcia Smalley is a certified retirement coach and life coach, a writer and a teacher. She delights in helping mid-life women step confidently into their next act and design a joyous, expanded life. Marcia provides coaching support to women who are navigating retirement or other life transitions and writes a monthly e-newsletter to her entire online community. Please visit her website at

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