During his Emmy acceptance speech, Jon Stewart made a joke recent retirees can no doubt relate to.
“I have been off of television for six weeks, seven weeks, whatever it is. This is the first applause I’ve heard,” said Stewart who retired last month. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart took home the top prize for Outstanding Variety Talk Series.
While you may have not retired from a multi-million-dollar television gig, coming to terms with life-after-career can be a challenge for anyone.
The possible psychological effects of retirement can “include partial identity disruption, decision paralysis, diminished self trust, experience of a post retirement void, the search for meaningful engagement in society, development of a retirement/life structure, the confluence of aging and retirement, death anxiety, the critical nurturing of social relationships, and self-actualization,” wrote University of Alberta professor John Osborne in a 2012 article in the Canadian Journal of Counseling and Psychotherapy.
What can you do to ease the transition?
One advice point is to stay active after you’ve moved on from your career. As MONEY’s Donna Rosato notes, a 2009 study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that retirees with part-time or temporary jobs have fewer major diseases, including high blood pressure and heart disease, than those who stop working altogether, even after factoring in their pre-retirement health.
You can also set up a “phased retirement”—a gradual shift from full- to part-time or consulting work. Penelope Wang explains here how to manage this gracefully. If you can’t make an arrangement with your current employer, she says, retirement can also be a chance to try out something new. Older jobseekers should check out sites like Encore.org, RetiredBrains.com, and Retirement-Jobs.com.
It’s only natural to derive a lot of self-worth from your work—after all you spend 40 to 50 hours a week for forty years building a professional identity. Before you graduate into the next stage of your life, take a moment or two to think about how you ease the transition.