It is important to approach retirement in a postive way.

One issue that many people fail to consider when planning for their retirement is the potential stress that can come from a fundamental lifestyle change coupled with an often new environment.

Change of role, identity

For many, the necessary change of role and identity will be a welcome departure from maybe 40 years of work, but for others, it is the beginning of the experience of financial worries plus the challenge of filling one's day in a way that brings satisfaction, not boredom.

Adjustments to lifestyle will be inevitable as both you and your immediate family learn to adjust to different roles than before.

The vision of not having to go to the office everyday but instead have just a lazy day, can seem attractive initially but that soon palls and your brain will need a new challenge to prevent it atrophying.

New, exciting phase

The skill is to treat your new-found freedom as the start of another phase in your life - an exciting and challenging one in which you have greater control over what you do and where you go.

Retirement can bring with it an amazing new journey. Getting down to writing that book you have always dreamed of, taking up singing lessons, upgrading your computer skills, opening up a new fun business can all form part of this new chapter and of course travelling to those far distant places you have always meant to explore.

There is so much to see and do and that can be part of the problem. And in some ways that alone can contribute to stress after you have finished fulltime work.

Change of attitude

During the years you were working, you had to conform to various rules and timetables. But now you have no timetable other than your own and that is why you need to be self-motivated and disciplined. It is all too easy to stay in bed late and watch TV, then wonder what indeed you have achieved during your day.

Downsizing at home

For many, moving home in order to downsize becomes a priority. The children are now in university or working themselves and the existing home is too large. Wherever you decide to live, life will be different; friends from work may be lost, but new ones gained dependent on your new social activities.

There will inevitably be changes in your personal relationships. No longer do you need to get to the office at 7.30am every morning - instead you can take an easy breakfast and talk to your husband, or wife.

For better and for worse, but not for lunch

Of course, this in itself poses problems, for a wife who is not used to having her husband at home all day, it can be stressful for both, unless there is some domestic structure in place.

Probably, a schedule should be agreed as to domestic responsibilities, including shopping etc and also financial matters such as the payment of bills and other expenses.

Returning to work

I see retirement as an exciting opportunity to live life to the full with extra leisure time for hobbies and holidays, and the opportunity to explore personal interests or adult education.

Quite often there is a wish to return to part-time working or you might consider doing some voluntary work and that certainly would ensure you maintain contact with a peer group and meet new friends.

It would also give you a new focus which is often difficult after one retires.

This is your retirement after having worked hard all your life and this is time to really enjoy the rest of the journey. There will be changes and adjustments along the way - but if you plan properly, look after your health, keep fit and keep interested in the world around you — it can be the most rewarding period of your life.

The author is a BBC guest-broadcaster and Motivational Speaker. She is CEO of an international stress management and employee wellbeing consultancy based in London. Contact them for proven stress strategies -

Steps to be active

  • Maintain a positive attitude and mindset.
  • Be disciplined and build a new domestic structure.
  • Create goals and objectives and be accountable for them.
  • Meet new people and colleagues.
  • Get a hobby that you really enjoy.
  • Write that book as part of your legacy!
  • Have a lifestyle plan that is financially viable.
  • Keep your mind active — mental agility keeps you young.