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Retirement boredom busting – how to keep yourself busy

Couple sat on a garden bench in an East facing garden

Retirement is a golden period of life where you have more time to spend doing what you love with the people you love. Despite this freedom boredom can quickly start to set in, especially for those who enjoyed their career and the busy day-to-day routine their job brought them. Until you settle into a routine of sorts, you may struggle to know what to fill your days with other than sitting around, reading and spending longer completing daily chores.

Hitting retirement can make you feel like you are all dressed up with nowhere to go – you’ve probably spent the last 5 or so years looking forwards to everything you’re going to do, but when it happens it isn’t as ‘go, go, go’ as you thought it’d be. You aren’t alone with feeling this way, but as soon as you find your feet, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy a fulfilling, happy retirement. We’ve put together our top suggestions for busting boredom which we hope you’ll find helpful.


Gardening is an activity that an estimated 27 million people in the UK do on a recreational level, so you’ll never be short of people with this hobby in common if you decide to take it up. If you don’t have a garden, you could look at getting an allotment or see if there are any community gardening projects going on locally – they are usually very grateful for volunteers.

As well as being great fun and it being something you can do to keep the boredom at bay almost all year round, gardening has a host of health benefits that will keep you fighting fit. Some of the benefits include: –

  1. Reduces depression and anxiety
  2. Relieves stress and promotes happiness
  3. Physical exercise
  4. Reduced loneliness
  5. A boosted immune system
  6. Better self esteem

Gardening is a very easily accessible activity which you only need basic tools and knowledge to do on an amateur level – making it perfect for people of all situations and abilities. If you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, even visiting public gardens and spending some time sitting and relaxing on a garden bench can be a fantastic mood booster.

Related Article: What Are The Health Benefits of Gardening?


If you have an adventurous spirit and a healthy bank balance, retirement can be an ideal time in your life to go travelling. Whether you plan to go up and down the UK with a caravan to visit al the places that have a special meaning to you, or you go further afield to more exotic climates, travelling can give you true life satisfaction.

Travelling is also one of the best ways to meet new people who have similar interests to you. If you’ve always been a wanderer but have stayed in hostels or similar in your youth to stick to a budget, allow yourself to splash out on some nicer accommodations this time around. You deserve it.

Even if you just go on a holiday or two a year, a change of scenery can be very welcome.

Try something new

Break up the humdrum of daily life by trying something completely new that you haven’t had time to do before. Whether you have always wanted to learn to paint, you fancy having a go at tinkering with a classic car, or you want to do something a bit more adventurous, there is no better time to get started than when you hit your retirement age and can leave work.

If you worry about doing new activities alone, perhaps you could find a club that focuses on your chosen activity, or rope a friend in? Whatever you do, don’t worry if you end up not being a fan – we can’t be good at everything after all!

Return to old hobbies

You might be surprised to find that the average hobby only has an average lifespan of 16 months[i] before being given up.

People usually drop hobbies to focus on their work, home life and other commitments which take a higher priority. It’s a real shame to give up something you enjoy forever, but retirement presents a valuable opportunity to pick back up where you left off and take your hobbies further than ever before. You might start cycling again, dig out the old calligraphy set or rescue your guitar from the attic. Whatever it is, remember there are plenty of resources online to help you get going again.

Make plans with friends

People who are over 50 are much more likely to feel lonely[ii], so with the current retirement age being 65 it’s vital that you try to maintain a good social life after leaving the workforce. Making plans with your friends is the best place to start. Whether you agree to meet for a coffee every Monday morning or plan a holiday together, giving yourself something to look forward to will help unfilled time go faster and keep your mental health in check.

As well as making time for friends, you should plan when you are going to see your family – especially if they live a fair distance away. It’s do easy to put off picking up the phone and making plans, so don’t delay! Get the diary out and start scheduling the next few weeks.


Now that you don’t have a regular routine of going to work, you might slip into a habit of not exercising as much as you should do. When you are 65 or older, you should be exercising moderately for a minimum of 2.5 hours a week to keep your body healthy[iii]. Exercises that you could take up include:

There might be clubs in your local area which you can join. Having other people around you whilst exercising can help to keep you motivated, and gives you a great opportunity to make new friends and expand your social network.

Plan your routine 

This may sound like a route straight into boredom, as routines do often become monotonous. However, you’d be surprised how planning out your time wisely can fend boredom off. Instead of finishing your working life and being plunged into a state of not knowing what to do, having a plan can help to keep your body and mind busy. Here are some activities you could plan into your weekly routine:

If you like, you can go so far as to having a routine for each day. Don’t let this rule your life though, planning everything down to the millisecond can become an unhealthy obsession.

Move somewhere else

You might be bored of doing the same things in the same town every week, and this can only become amplified after retirement when you have much more time on your hands. With no workplace responsibilities tying you down, you have the freedom to up sticks and settle elsewhere. Perhaps you could consider moving closer to family? Or maybe you have had a dream hometown for your whole life, but the move has seemed impossible up until now? If you think a change of location could be right for you, make sure you give it plenty of thought and plan your move well.

And lastly, enjoy!

Retirement is likely something that you have been climbing towards for your whole working life, so you truly deserve to enjoy it and spend it however you want to. Don’t hold back – make the most of it and make sure you properly plan for it.



ageuk. (2018). All the Lonely People: Loneliness in Later Life. Retrieved from ageuk:

Family Doctor. (n.d.). Exercise and Seniors. Retrieved from Family Doctor:

SWNS digital. (n.d.). This is how long the average person will stick with a hobby. Retrieved from SWNS digital:






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