Are you wondering how you will spend your free time in retirement? All of the freedom might sound like a dream come true, but boredom and a lack of social interaction can make your golden years seem like a drag.
There are a few reasons that retirement might make you feel this way. Working can have its downsides, but a job is also a source of community and social interaction. Even if you have a well-developed social life outside of work, the shift into retirement can still come as a shock to your social schedule. This startlement can be especially true if you or your friends move elsewhere post-retirement or if you are the first person in your social group to retire.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to combat boredom and loneliness in retirement. Volunteering is an option, and you can also continue working part-time or even try out a new career if you are feeling ambitious. You can also pursue new hobbies, sports, or activities that you didn’t have time for while working. Learning new physical activities can keep you fit and active well into retirement, maintaining heart health while reducing the risk of falls. And with all of the free time retirement offers, you have more time to pursue new learning opportunities, which are good for your mind and your social circle.
There’s good reason to look into continuing education during retirement. Studies show that engaging in new hobbies and activities can stave off mental illnesses like dementia. And partaking in group learning activities can also offer you a chance to meet and socialize with new people who are also recently retired.
If you’d like to reap the rewards of added learning in retirement, check out these four ways to keep learning.
If you’re the academic type, one of the best places for continued learning in retirement is your local college. When you’re a senior, college doesn’t have to break the bank: in fact, every state has at least one college with reduced or free tuition for seniors!
All 10 of the Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona (including the campus in Phoenix) offer a 50% discount to seniors over 65 years of age. From theater to history and even small business management, there’s a specialty for nearly everyone.
College courses also offer you a great opportunity to engage with a diverse range of peers, from new high school graduates to adults upgrading their credentials.
2. Learning in Retirement Programs
If going to college doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, there are also learning opportunities specifically geared toward retired seniors.
For example, ALLE Learning focuses specifically on helping seniors learn in retirement, and their programs are designed to help their students learn and succeed in a supportive environment. They’re working to shift the culture of learning in retirement from “care giving” to “being engaged.”
The benefit of organizations like ALLE Learning is that you’ll be learning and working alongside peers who are also motivated in pursuing new learning opportunities in retirement.
3. One-Off Classes
Sometimes it’s nice to dabble in a few new things rather than jumping headfirst into a full course or new community. One-off classes are a great way to sample what’s available, and they can be a great way to break up a stale routine.
Consider looking into local cooking workshops or drop-in dance classes. Participating in classes like these keep your mind and body engaged. These learning opportunities also make for great date nights, too — even though you may be retired, you don’t have to retire romance!
4. Recreational Classes & Activities
If you decide you like one (or all) of the classes you’ve sampled, there are plenty of regular, continuing classes and groups available to seniors in most communities — and Phoenix is no exception.
Whether you’ve always wanted to try your hand at pottery, to take up yoga for its physical and mental health benefits, or to discover your green thumb, Phoenix has many continuing courses that will challenge and engage you.
Arizona is a great place to retire, and it also offers a number of senior-centric activities specifically designed for helping retirees stay fit and stay active.
Whichever direction you take or wherever you retire, once you know your options for continued learning in retirement, you can banish boredom and loneliness from your retirement vocabulary. Chances are you’ll wish you had more spare time to grow your knowledge!