Retirement should be a time for joy, relaxation, socializing, enjoyment, and reflection. It should be long, happy, and healthy. However, many people today experience retirement with dread, boredom, painful and debilitating physical ailments, loneliness, and fear of the end of life. Due to financial constraints, some never even experience retirement at all.
Our culture values youth, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that life is over once you enter your elder years. Luckily, there are things you can do and focus on to ensure that retirement is something to look forward to — not something that evokes feelings of depression or lack of purpose.
Doing away with negative stereotypes about retirement, being sure to stay active and eat well, trying new hobbies, and being social can make your retirement years some of the best of your life. Let’s discuss each of these approaches in greater detail:
1. Avoid Retirement Traps
There are some mental traps that can snag you when your entire retirement. Some of these include feeling like you have no purpose, that your life is over, and that you’re missing out on the world.
Remember that retirement is what you make of it. Change can be difficult, but while entering retirement is definitely a transition, there’s no reason you can’t take charge of your life and enjoy retirement to its fullest.
If you find yourself falling into one of these mental traps, it might be time to reach out to a friend for some social interaction or even a counselor or therapist. If you can find someone you trust to talk honestly about your feelings, you will be happier and healthier and more able to enjoy your retirement.
2. Stay Active and Eat Well
Unless you have succeeded spectacularly, you’re likely getting up there in age when you enter retirement. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to take care of your body and your mind to stay happy and healthy in retirement. If you don’t, you won’t be able to enjoy your retirement as much when aches and pains take over.
While the stereotypical image of someone sitting on a couch with their feet up, drink and snack in hand, might look ideal for a while, it’s no way to spend any good portion of your life. And in today’s age, you also have to fight the temptation of social media.
Many retirees are on social media and at risk of getting too sucked in with all this new time on their hands. In addition to your personal and financial information is at risk, you’re also setting yourself up for negative mental impacts that social media can have on your health and happiness. Spending your retirement years on your computer or phone is not healthy and won’t lead to happiness, so consider deleting Facebook, or at least designating a limited number of hours each week on it.
Eating well and staying active can be great for your mental health as well as your physical health. There are many negative side effects of being unhealthy and overweight, which can happen if you eat poorly and are inactive.
Diabetes, for one, often affects the retirement community in large numbers. The effects of diabetes are widespread. Diabetes can lead to depression, erectile dysfunction, side effects from medication, damaged blood vessels, and more.
Luckily, simple changes, like increasing your level of physical activity and eating well, can help stave off any medical issues. Going for a walk outside, swimming, gardening, and practicing yoga are all examples of low-impact exercises that can help keep you healthy.
In terms of eating, you want to make sure you’re limiting your sugar intake as well as your consumption of packaged and processed foods. Focus on organic produce and balanced meals. If you’ve got those two in check, your retirement will be much more enjoyable. Your outlook on life and your physical body will thank you.
3. Invest Time in Hobbies and Being Social
Retirement can be a great time to try new things or put energy into something you’ve been interested in for a long time but may not have explored yet. Developing a new hobby that you’re passionate about can help add meaning and purpose to your life.
Playing cards or games with friends, starting a book club, taking your metal detector on a walk with you, learning about building tiny homes and living minimally, and volunteering at an animal shelter or for another cause you care about are all great hobbies you could invest time in as a senior.
Perhaps the best thing about a lot of these hobbies is that you can do them in a social setting. Being social is more important than ever in retirement. It can be easy to isolate yourself and withdraw from the world, so setting up a regular social calendar for yourself can be vital for a happy retirement.
Putting some conscious thought and planning into your retirement can lead to long and happy years spent doing things you love. If you make a plan and do things that add meaning and purpose to your life, you might consider your retirement years some of your best. Avoiding retirement traps, staying active, eating well, investing time in hobbies, and being social will all help you head down the right path.