If you are exhausted from working long hours, following a 9-5 schedule and doing a job you don’t necessarily enjoy, you are probably looking forward to your retirement!! However, what if retirement ends up making you feel worse, instead of giving you the peace you dreamed of?
According to the Institute of Economic Affairs, retirement can increase one’s risk of clinical depression by a staggering 40 percent! Moreover, it could also lead to a physical illness diagnosis and elevate the risk of taking medication as well for the illness. Definitely not something you expected right? So how can you make sure you make the best out of your future retirement?
Healthy Ways to Make the Most Out of Retirement
While retirement is initially linked to a perpetual vacation, the elderly are more likely to experience an inactive lifestyle and social isolation during this period. You can avoid the spiral in retirement with habits geared towards healthy living and taking care of relationships.
1. Strengthen your social connections
A study by the Ontario Health Technology Assessment Series reports that social and family relationships are a core element of quality of life for seniors. Thus, it is important for the elderly to make time for their relationships.
Now that you have all this free time, schedule weekly meetups and activities with your family and friends. This new stage should not hold you back from reaching out, but help you instead to find new ways to connect with others. Volunteer to host family gatherings on the weekends. Help your children save and offer to watch the grandchildren while they are at work. Use your weekdays to catch up with individuals you haven’t seen in a while. You’ll soon discover that spending quality time with loved ones contributes to happiness and lessens your stress.
2. Stick to a schedule
Retirement, like any other stage, requires a transition. You no longer have a 9 to 5 schedule, however, that should not stop you from creating your own! Studies report that the key to happiness is a structured life. A schedule lets you structure this new stage. Ticking off tasks throughout the day prevents you from falling into boredom and loneliness. Everything you do is entirely up to you, but make sure to organize how you go about each day.
3. Find a New Purpose
Your newfound free time can be overwhelming. How are you supposed to organize a day if you no longer have a job or daily responsibilities to attend to? Retirement is your chance to start anew or to find your Ikigai! According to the authors of a sweet little book called, “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life”, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles, emphasize on the importance of having your own Ikigai. Ikigai can be described as your purpose in life. Perhaps your purpose includes sharing your wisdom with in the form of teaching, or helping others get through their day. Whatever it is, when you have a purpose, it allows you to make your day more meaningful.
Moreover, an Oxford University research showed that a meaningful life reduces the effects of aging. Another study also reported that those who have a purpose in their life are likelier to outlive their peers. So start setting out a new purpose and see what you can do with this stage of your life. Ask yourself, what makes me happy and what am I passionate about?
4. Stay Physically and Mentally Active
Retirement may signal the end of your career, but this doesn’t mean you have stop working. Keep yourself mentally and physically active with a part-time position or a low stress job like bagging groceries. If you still enjoy your career, then discuss a part-time schedule with your company’s management. Having a job also helps with starting and maintaining a new schedule.
The rest of your free time can also be spent exercising. Your age can make some activities harder than they used to be, so opt for an exercise you enjoy. Schedule daily walks in your community or try yoga at your local studio. If you enjoyed hiking or dancing when you were younger, then continue doing so as your regular exercise activity. Don’t force yourself to do something you dislike. A Cornell Food and Brand Lab research said that those who have fun while exercising end up eating less. So sticking to an activity you enjoy also helps with your diet. Moreover, have you ever looked into brain exercise? Simple exercises, like memorising a verse a day from your favorite spiritual book, playing a game of chess with your friends or learning a new language can really help you to stay sharp! As we grow older, we tend to believe that challenges are meant to be left for the young, but the opposite is rather true. Challenges can help you to keep your brain in perfect shape!
5. Start Ticking off That Bucket List
Retirement is the perfect time to do what you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time for as an adult. Always wanted to travel the world? Are there restaurants you’ve been meaning to try? Is there a list of books you’ve always wanted to read? Start working on those goals. They will certainly help in making that schedule and finding your new purpose.
6. Connect With Nature
Connecting with nature can be very therapeutic in many ways. It helps us to feel more complete and less isolated. Moreover, it can help us rejuvenate and even alleviate feelings of depression and anxiety. Perhaps you can try to set up your own organic garden and grow foods for yourself and your loved ones. This will not only improve your health, but also provides your dear ones with plenty of healthy foods!
Every end signals a beginning. Retirement is your chance to start anew and continue living but in freer conditions. Don’t waste all that time and make the most out of each day. With a better purpose, determination, and discipline, you’ll be able to enjoy all those benefits retirement is known for and much more. Don’t be afraid to try new things or continue pursuing jobs you have always enjoyed. It is your life and it is entirely up to you how much you make the most of this stage.