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Bored in Retirement? We Have Some Ideas

If your retirement is not quite as exciting as you hoped it would be, you’re not alone. Many retirees find that too much free time can be boring. That’s why researchers at Harvard Medical School and Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied how retirement challenges us in different ways.

For example, we go from a daily or weekly routine to an open-ended block of time, 24/7. The Harvard researchers conclude that it is a similar feeling to being overworked. Too much unstructured time can be just as overwhelming as having too much to do.

Fortunately, there are a lot of things for bored older adults to do, alone or together. However, experts warn against doing too much all at once. They also caution about doing too little. There is a “sweet spot” for each of us, where we have a good balance of interests.

Many of today’s retirees make plans to move into all-amenities senior living communities like The Village at Providence Point—A National Lutheran Community. Future residents have a lot to look forward to in the way of fitness programs, creative activities, onsite restaurants, cultural adventures, nature excursions, and more!

10 fun things for bored older adults to do

1. Learn a new language.
Whether or not you ultimately travel to a native-speaking country to test your skills, learning new languages can open up unexpected opportunities. Linguistic training can also help keep your brain active and your memory sharp.

2. Create your masterpiece.
Now is a great time to take up painting, photography, pottery, scrapbooking, knitting, quilting, macrame, you name it. Creative hobbies — new or revisited — can provide joy. There is also a special camaraderie that comes with being part of a scrapbooking group, quilting bee, sewing circle, or other gathering of “makers.”

3. Play music.
Find an instrument you like. It doesn’t really matter if you’re talented or not. Playing music for pure enjoyment can help soothe a busy mind. The same goes for simply listening to music. It is good for the soul.

4. Work out.
“Move it or lose it,” said tennis great Jimmy Connors. He wasn’t wrong. Keeping your body healthy means keeping it in motion. The more you sit, the more struggle to get out of the chair. That’s why The Village at Providence Point is building state-of-the-art fitness and aquatic centers for our residents.

5. Volunteer.
Retirement gives you a chance to recommit to your passions. There are endless volunteer opportunities to lend a helping hand and serve others. Take a shift at the food bank, walk the dogs at the shelter, babysit at the church daycare, or help out at the local hospital. Your time and energy will be appreciated.

6. Go to school.
It’s never too late to learn something different. Look into going back to college. Explore free group learning through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Sign up for limited-duration courses through local high schools. Get certified in CPR and First Aid or learn how to make bread or cheese. If you want to discover a new topic or delve into a favorite subject, the world is open to your curiosity.

7. Explore nature.
A walk in the woods can refresh your mind and body. A visit to a garden can inspire you with true beauty. Time spent by the water can wash away your worries. The Village at Providence Point will give our residents the chance to find their favorite spots, on and off campus.

8. Become a foodie.
Expand your palate by cooking different dishes and exploring new restaurants. Try unusual ingredients from the international aisle. Learn from YouTube videos. Go to weekend buffets at ethnic or vegan restaurants. Make those hours-long recipes you never had time for when you were working. There’s no shortage of tasty options.

9. Start a business.
Begin an “encore career” with your own business. It can be as simple as offering your skills as a consultant from a virtual home office, or as ambitious as opening a bakery, coffee shop, boutique, antique store or whatever else you’ve always imagined.

10. Go back to work.
Seriously, if you miss work, find a part-time opportunity. Choose a public-facing role if you like being around others. Take a virtual role that leverages your professional knowledge. Think about a hybrid job where you can work at home and in the office. There are literally millions of jobs available.

Better well-being by keeping boredom at bay

The transition from work to retirement is different for everyone. Practicing for retirement can be a valuable exercise. Exploring where you want to live and what you want to do. Anticipating your needs and designing a life you love. A life that supports your well-being by keeping you interested and engaged.

Boredom is not on the agenda at The Village at Providence Point. Our walkable campus of cottages and independent living apartments will offer gracious living in a beautiful setting. You’ll be inspired by our health and fitness resources, on-campus dining choices, planned monthly activities, and overall fun and welcoming vibe.

Staying busy and socially connected is key to successful aging. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites loneliness, a contributor to boredom, as a serious health risk for older adults. It can contribute to an increased risk of premature death, dementia, heart disease, and stroke. All the more reason to get here … and get going on your retirement dreams.

You worked hard for this windfall of free time and open-ended potential. Find out how moving to our senior living community can be a cure-all for boredom and loneliness. Learn more about The Village at Providence Point at one of our upcoming Information Events. Sign up now to attend.

Helpful Links

Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. “Retirement blues: Taking it too easy can be hard on you”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging. “Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions”

Kiplinger. “How to Be Happy (Not Bored!) in Retirement – Starting Today”

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