Have you got a case of the retirement jitters?

Ah, retirement… that long-awaited golden age of relaxation, where you can finally kick back, pursue your passions and enjoy the sweet rewards of your hard work.

At least that’s the theory!

However in reality, as retirement approaches, you might start to notice a nagging feeling creeping in – a weird mix of excitement and anticipation combined with a decidedly uncomfortable shot of anxiety – a palpable sensation in the pit of your stomach best described as ‘the retirement jitters’!

Retirement Jitters are extremely common. In fact, I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t experienced them to some degree or another as they’re pretty hard to ignore. They can make you worry about your finances, question your sense of purpose, fret about the future and obsess over the state of your health. 

It’s enough to put a serious damper on that whole ‘golden age of relaxation’ thing!

So, in this blog we’re going to dive deeper to better understand these jitters. We’ll unpack why they happen, how to spot the signs, and most importantly, how to tackle them head-on, so you can step confidently into your post-work life, ready to embrace the next chapter with a smile on your face!

First off, it’s important to reiterate that everyone experiences varying feelings of anxiety about stepping into retirement so you’re most certainly not alone! Retirement IS a big deal, and it’s completely normal and understandable to have mixed emotions about what’s ahead.

Retirement brings a LOT of changes and where there’s change there’s always an element of uncertainty and anxiety about what’s ahead. Of course, we’re all different and the main signs of retirement jitters vary from person to person, but here are some common indicators to look out for:

  • Indecisiveness: Feelings of overwhelm keep you stuck in procrastination and unable to make choices and decisions  for fear of making the wrong ones.
  • Loss of Purpose: A sense of aimlessness, emptiness or lack of direction as you struggle to define a new sense of purpose and meaning in retirement. 
  • Social Withdrawal: You may become more isolated, leading to feelings of loneliness and a sense of disconnection from others.
  • Increased Self-Doubt: You may question your abilities, skills, or worthiness in pursuing new endeavors or engaging in activities you once enjoyed, hindering your willingness to take risks and embrace new opportunities.
  • General Fretfulness: This can range from worries about financial stability to concerns about health, purpose, or maintaining a fulfilling lifestyle, creating a general sense of unease and anxiety.

Recognising and acknowledging your jitters is the first step in addressing and navigating them. 

You may exhibit a combination of signs or other unique indicators. The key is to pay attention to any significant changes in your emotions, thoughts, or behaviours as you approach retirement. And again, cut yourself some slack and remember that this is a significant life transition and ANY significant life transition triggers its own set of jitters.

So take a deep breath and know that there are steps you can take to ease those worries because believe it or not, those anxieties you’re feeling about retirement can actually serve as valuable signposts pointing you in the right direction.

Your retirement anxieties are like little messengers, whispering important insights about your hopes, fears, and desires.

Think of them as opportunities for self-reflection and growth and USE your anxieties as a catalyst for exploring what truly matters to you in this next phase of life. 

Take a closer look at the specific concerns that are causing the most unease and use them as clues to guide your actions. For example, if you’re worried about feeling lost and aimless without work, it might well be a sign that finding meaningful new activities or engaging in volunteer work could be a path worth exploring.

If financial worries are keeping you up at night, it could be an indication to seek professional advice, educate yourself, and take concrete steps to ensure your financial stability.

Perhaps the worry about losing your existing social connections signifies your craving for meaningful relationships and a sense of belonging. Look for ways to build new social connections and explore new hobbies or interests. Take that painting class you’ve always wanted to try or join a local community group. Where can you find like-minded people that can help you fill that void and make new friendships?

Your jitters are telling you that this transition IS important to you and that you care deeply about how it unfolds. Pay attention to those anxious thoughts and feelings, for they hold clues about what truly matters to you. 

Embrace the discomfort and uncertainty as signs that you’re stepping outside your comfort zone and embarking on a new chapter filled with new possibilities. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to this new chapter in life and don’t hesitate to lean on your friends, family, or use the services of a professional retirement coach who can provide the support and guidance you need. 

Remember, retirement is a journey and a process, not an event or an instant ‘fix’ and there’s no need to figure it all out right away. 

When you transform the energy of your jitters into stepping stones and channel them into intentional actions, you can create a retirement that is vibrant, fulfilling, and fully aligned with who you want to be.

You’ve got this!

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