Speaking on the Late Late Show in what was his first interview since the move, the Limerick native said reality has hit that his time on the pitch has come to an end.
The 36-year-old winger won his 100th cap against England at Aviva Stadium in August, leading the team out alongside his three daughters Ella-May, Laurie and Emie.
He played against Romania in the opening game of the World Cup, his final act in a green shirt.
Earls, who enjoyed a 16-year professional career, said securing his 100th cap for Ireland was an “amazing day”.
“I was stuck on 98 caps for nearly two years between injuries and other stuff. It was amazing, the pictures with the girls, I was always wondering would I get there and thankfully to do it in Aviva Stadium in front of Edel, the three girls, my mother, my father and my sister,” he told host Patrick Kielty.
“I think half of Limerick were up there as well, it meant a lot to me.”
Earls admitted that he didn’t enjoy his first 50 caps as he was too “harsh” on himself over the years.
“It sounds weird, I think I just took it too serious. I was harsh on myself, and I didn’t understand the mental side of the game – how to deal with pressure, self-doubt, everything,” he said.
“Once I got the hang of that, Joe Schmidt was massive for me when he came in, just showing us where we could get if we get out over the mental side of our game. I really enjoyed that and things started working out for me.
“I just used to beat myself up too much and self-doubt was a massive factor.”
He also spoke about his experience living with bipolar disorder. Earls previously said that in 2013, after years of negative thoughts, he finally decided to reach out for help, and received the diagnosis.
The father-of-three recently said he wanted to live his life “medication free”. Earls released his autobiography Fight Or Flight: My Life, My Choices in 2021.
“It’s very important for people to take medication but I didn’t want to rely on it. I felt that if I kept working hard and understanding myself and trying to figure it out, I wanted to be medication free,” he said.
“The turning point was when I done Blindboy’s podcast with psychologist Dr Declan Aherne, and afterwards we were just chatting, and he actually set me up with a lovely woman and we thrashed things out.
“I told her I want to be medication free, and I went on my journey, and I don’t want to say what I done because what works for me isn’t going to work for everyone, but the main thing is to firstly go and talk.
“When I was on here [the Late Late Show] a couple of years ago when I spoke about it, I kind of felt I’m after giving too much away here but then when I seen the impact it had – even now to this day people coming up on the street, saying how it helped them.
“I’m very grateful for that and I’m so proud of the book for that. The only one negative thing I have, I think people think I walk around with a dark cloud over my head the whole time but I’m far from it.
“It’s 5pc of the time that I might feel like that. I’m a big child and I love having the craic as well, but I am proud of the book and the impact its had. I’m in a good place, that’s all I can say and it’s going to be constant work, but I suppose it’s all a part of the journey.”
Earls said he has had good days and bad days but he’s proud he “stuck at it”.
“There were plenty of times I didn’t want to stick at it, even when I was younger, where I had come from, I wasn’t supposed to make it. I’m happy I went against the odds,” he said.