Ageing Well Ageing Well, Living Well Over 50s Lifestyle

Designing Your Signature Retirement

March 15, 2020
Signature Retirement

Retirement. Some of us have arrived, others are almost there and some aren’t even thinking about it. Recently I’ve written on the subject of Retirement. In particular, I asked the question ‘What does your version of Retirement look like?’ and also asked Are you Suffering from Retirement Regret?

In my post How to Create your Signature Self-Care Cocktail I discussed the idea that as individuals we all need to find what works best for us. There is so much information around self care and sometimes it is difficult to decide what works and what doesn’t.

Retirement is exactly the same I know from the comments that Retirement means different things and ‘one-size definitely does not fit all’.

My next guest in the Ageing Well, Living Well Series is friend and mentor, Peta Gillian, CEO of Strong Healthy Women. Peta has been a guest before and always provides practical information for living a healthy lifestyle not just in our 50s but way beyond. In this post, Peta shares some practical steps to make the Retirement phase of life your best step forward. A Signature Retirement that is unique to you.

Can retiring be the best or worse step you take?

For many of us who are still working, we might dream of the day of not waking to an alarm or spending a leisurely day of nothingness. Whilst sleeping late and doing nothing might work for a little while, it’s appeal could be very short lived.


Retirement is full of excitement, liberation, fear and anxiety. It has the full range of feelings so it’s important to work through your emotions and find a way to release and not supress them.

At first, you might feel that your free at last and on holidays that will go on forever. The novelty of being on holidays will wear off and you’ll settle into a slower lifestyle. Beware, your slower lifestyle might impact your health.

Look for healthy ways to deal with those feelings.

You might find walking, reading, writing, talking to others or even yoga and meditation. The choices are endless.


You might be planning trips overseas or travelling our beautiful country, painting or reading and the lists goes on. But this is about you and you’ve got the time to figure it out.

The joy of retirement is that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to experiment.

It’s up to you to design the type of day—and kind of life—that you want to live.

This is about you, not your significant other but you – your dreams and how you want to live your life.


You’ve had years of routine and then suddenly that routine is gone. Once the dust settles…
The structure that keeps your daily life in check and on track from a health aspect is gone. Or maybe this is your opportunity to have more time to spend on your health – preparing meals and exercising. This is when you get to design your new routine, the one that works for your health and life.

Your day might have gone something like this – alarm goes off, shower, breakfast, pack a lunch, head out the door. Then, there was probably a similar routine at the end of your day that began when you walked back into your home.

It’s time to establish a retirement routine that helps you plan your days. Experiment with various activities and what works for you. You might want to read the newspaper over a cup of tea, exercise, see friends and volunteer. Your choices are endless and it’s about you.

One the biggest impacts on health is the wake and sleep times, so develop a consistent routine for waking up and going to bed.

Social Connections

Your work colleagues are no longer a constant in your life. That social connection we all crave, and need, is not there. Maybe your friends have already retired so you are excited about the opportunity to spend more time with them and you’ve got the social connection covered.

This is the time when isolation can really impact your life. After years of meeting friends through work and seeing them every day, it might not be as easy to find new friends.

Develop your routine and catch up with a retired friend each week, go walking in the neighbourhood (you never know who you might meet).

If you have a significant other in your life and you have friends together you might invite them over for a meal or play cards. If you don’t feel like you have enough people to keep you socially active take advantage of the extra time in your life to make new friends.

This is not the time to narrow your friendships but the time to grow them.

You might find friends at the local church or community centre, at golf, craft, tennis, exercise classes or bowls. This is the time to expand your horizons. Remember don’t limit yourself, there are groups on-line too.


If you’re one of the lucky ones you have it all figured out what you’ll do, who you’ll spend it with and what your purpose is, I applaud you. Many of us define ourselves by what we do and retiring will send us into an absolute tailspin. It’s time to think about the opportunities available to you.

Remember you don’t have to stick with what you know and what you’ve done all your life. You might find a “Passion Job”, something you’ve been interested in for years and start another chapter in your life.

You might not want to work and that’s understandable, but you might enjoy the benefits of volunteering and giving back to others.

One of the greatest benefits of working, whether paid or unpaid, is the increase in your social connections. Not only that, it’s great for the mind and body and will give you a great sense of achievement.


You’ve spent your working life, meeting deadlines, finishing projects or going for a promotion. Guess what? You still get to set goals and intentions during retirement. You just need to look at them differently.

Working on goals and intentions can give you a sense of purpose. And accomplishing new things can give you a sense of achievement.

Think about what milestones you might want to meet in a month, 90 days, or a year. Remember to write them down.

You are 42% more likely to achieve those goals when you write them down. You might want to get healthier, lose weight, be fitter? Travel Overseas? Read a book a month? Goals in retirement can be heaps of fun. Get out there and enjoy your retirement.

If you love this article and want more, join my mailing list and get Peta’s Well-Being Foundation News. subscribe HERE

Meet Peta

3 top tips for Thriving through 50

Peta Gillian is a qualified fitness and lifestyle professional with 15 years’ experience working with women.  Featured in Prevention Magazine, a regular on the Fit N Fifty Plus Podcast Show and a Finalist in the Australian Fitness Industry Awards, Peta is passionate about helping women 50+ be active, healthy and #1 in their lives.

Peta is the creator of FITFlex (a fitness and flexibility program for women 50+), Fuelled Up and the founder of Ageless Confidence which helps women no matter what stage of life to “believe they can”. 

She started her own well-being journey after watching the effects of preventable disease on the women in her family.  She faced a health issue of her own in her 40’s.  And then menopause hit her like a tonne of bricks, which started the process of research and finding her way through strategies that completely transformed her health and has since taught these same strategies to thousands of other women. 

Peta loves skiing, hiking, travelling, self-care time, staying active and loves reading to learn and grow.

Connect with Peta


Strong Healthy Women  (Facebook Business Page)

Women Over 50 Get Active & Healthy (FREE FACEBOOK Group)



Women Living Well After 50

Living Life Your Way


  • Reply Donna Connolly March 15, 2020 at 09:39

    Hi, Peta – It’s wonderful to see you here again. You have made excellent points about retirement…especially about it being far from a “one size fits all” journey. Another timely piece of advice that you have shared is “flexibility”. COVID-19 is currently teaching us many things. I believe that it’s biggest lesson is the need for flexibility and resillence in the face of change. Being able to roll with the punches is an invaluable asset for retirees for so many reasons. Thank you for sharing hete today.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2020 at 07:27

      Hi Donna, Peta had some very good points and I love your idea of flexibility in the face of change. COVID-19 will test that but there are many times in life when we need to be flexible and drawn on our resilience to get us through. xx

  • Reply Leanne | March 15, 2020 at 18:58

    Hi Sue and Peta – I think my entry into retirement is reflective of my entry into blogging. It kind of just happened – one minute I’d never thought of it, the next I’d launched myself off and into the deep end. What I discovered from blogging was that it developed gradually into something quite different to what I originally thought it would be, and I’m assuming the same will happen with retirement. ATM it’s all about peace and tranquility and doing things at a slow and leisurely pace, but I think that will change into something else as time goes on. I’m quite excited to see where I go in the years ahead – it’s certainly much better than I expected so far!

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2020 at 07:28

      Hi Leanne, it is good to hear a positive story from an unexpected retirement. So often, especially when we aren’t expecting to start this phase of life, it can be overwhelming and stressful. You’ve come a long way in the last year. xx

  • Reply suzanne March 15, 2020 at 22:30

    Hi Peta, after fifteen years of retirement I have found that my ‘purpose’ shifts fairly often, but my ‘routine’ is pretty much the same throughout the week. Therein lies the ‘flexibility’ you mentioned. It is the biggest gift we receive in retirement. Nice to meet you here at Sue’s blog.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2020 at 07:30

      Your comment made me feel more comfortable, Suzanne as I find my purpose shifts and wondered if that was just me. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy our day. xx

  • Reply Michele Somerville March 16, 2020 at 06:54

    There is so much good advice here. I am newly (2018) retired and working part time (30 hours a week) so will have a second, more permanent retirement in my future. One thing I would add or stress is Preparation. We all know we have to prepare financially, in many ways. But I would also stress preparing emotionally, for the detachment that will happen when those work relationships are no longer part of your every day life, prepare by thinking about how you want to spend your time, what adventures, what hopes, what compromises, etc. or me at least, all of that was important. And, if you have a significant other in your life, spouse or not, ask them what their hopes for your retirement are. Unless you are really in a casual relationship, this could be crucial. Thanks for helping me think about these things and your great suggestions.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2020 at 07:26

      I totally agree Michele that being prepared and having some type of plan in place is essential for Retirement. Many people plan their Financial side of Retirement but get a huge shock when they have time on their hands and no clue how to fill the time with purpose. Thanks for the comment and have a great day. x

  • Reply Debbie Harris March 16, 2020 at 17:46

    Thanks Sue and Peta for some though provoking and interesting suggestions. I like the social connections aspect and think we often neglect this when we finish full time work. We think we’ll be fine but it’s a time we have to nourish friendships and really think about how to continue to have purpose in our daily lives. A very well put together list of points to consider. Thanks again to you both.

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 18, 2020 at 07:19

      Hi Deb, Peta’s post is very timely for me as I’m looking at the direction of life for the next 5 years. The title I gave the post sums it up for me – we are all different and our needs are different so Designing a Signature Retirement that will be unique to us helps us to examine just want we want and don’t want in life. Take care my friend. xx

  • Reply jodie filogomo March 18, 2020 at 11:19

    I think retirement is such a great time to do the things we never had time for while working. Like exploring our own area and even blogging.,

    • Reply Sue Loncaric March 20, 2020 at 15:25

      Hi Jodie, lovely to hear from you and yes it is all about exploring your area and also your own life – what you want and what you can let go of. Have a lovely weekend and stay healthy xx

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