Retirement is supposed to be relaxing. The last thing you want is to spend your days feeling dissatisfied and unhappy, despite the fact that you finally have some time for yourself.
Many people are dismayed by the thought of aging, believing that by the time they reach retirement, they'll have slowed down too much to enjoy themselves. This glass half empty view can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Retirees who regret having to leave their jobs are more likely to stay unhappy than those who see retirement as an exciting time filled with opportunities to explore parts of life they have yet to discover.
Regardless of your overall disposition, we all face the same potential challenges that come with getting older. Age-related conditions like arthritis, hypertension, and dementia are potential bumps in the road, and can sometimes cause feelings of loneliness, depression, or like you've lost your identity.
But feeling happy and healthy in retirement is more than achievable, especially if you adopt daily habits, like the ones below, that can help you turn back the hands of time!
To start with, eat breakfast—a nutritious one. Teenagers can live on toasted cheese and 28-year-old-you probably got away with a cup of coffee (or two) for breakfast. By the time you're nearing middle age, however, your body is no longer so forgiving. It's never too late to start eating healthily, and proper nutrition is one of the most important ingredients for a happy body and mind.
Having a good breakfast every day is essential. Foregoing the first meal of the day can leave you feeling weak, jittery, and even annoyed. Eating nutritiously also doesn't mean swearing off cakes and chocolate. There's no need to deprive yourself, but to feel your best, you need plenty of vitamins and unprocessed, nutrient-filled food. Superfoods like chocolate, avocado, and citrus fruits are a great choice. Not only do they reduce stress, but they also give your body a healthy boost with every bite!
Keeping your mind sharp is something everyone should be doing. A huge number of people live life on a treadmill: work, eat, sleep, and repeat. By the time you retire, you're probably more than ready to leave the rat race, but there is one aspect that people miss—the mental stimulation.
The hours previously spent at work are suddenly free and clear, and it's important to fill that time with things that bring you joy. Some retirees look for part-time jobs or volunteer opportunities that support a cause they care about, as it can give them a sense of purpose and a reason to get up in the morning. Research has shown that keeping mentally active can help prevent mental illnesses and cognitive decline, so even when you're relaxing at home, you can stimulate your brain with fun activities like crosswords, Sudoku, or lateral thinking puzzles.
Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling that can potentially have a detrimental effect on your well-being. The combination of the gap left by no longer working and having to adjust to a "new normal" can exacerbate isolation and ultimately result in declining mental and physical health.
For retirees without partners and/or extended family, warding off loneliness can be tricky. Daily interactions with colleagues suddenly cease when people retire, and many seniors miss the social side of work as much as the work itself.
To deal with loneliness, you need to be proactive and focus on making new friends and connections. Fortunately, socializing can be made easier by keeping up with the other habits we've mentioned. For example, instead of exercising by yourself, join a walking club or enroll in a class to learn a new skill, and make new friends along the way!
Getting together with like-minded people or those with an interest in common is the best way of making friends. If you already have friends but have lost touch, retirement is the perfect time to resurrect those relationships!
Getting older can unfortunately come with aches and pains. Old injuries may suddenly pop up and conditions like arthritis can become more prevalent. Just like a healthy diet, keeping active plays a huge part in maintaining physical and mental wellness.
Once again, there's no need to take it to extremes. Going for a brisk walk every morning can keep you physically fit and boost your mood. Doing a gentle low impact exercise like yoga is also a great idea, as it focuses on stretching and strengthening your body. This helps to alleviate aches and pains, putting more of a spring in your step.
Every person has different needs and limits when it comes to exercise. So, it's important to work out what level of activity feels right for you in particular.
Feeling your best isn't only about physical fitness. We've already mentioned the importance of staying mentally active, but that's only one aspect of good mental and emotional health.
There are a few habits that many people swear by when it comes to feeling content and connected. Gratitude lists are extremely popular, as they serve as a regular reminder of what we have, rather than what we wish we had. As time passes, we're less likely to achieve all the things we've dreamed of, but by consciously taking stock of the good things in our lives can help us realize that being happy doesn't only come from the big things. Everyday interactions with friends and loved ones are sometimes the most valuable when it comes to your overall life satisfaction.
Another way of boosting your well-being is meditation. It can take a bit of discipline to get going with daily meditation, but the benefits are impossible to overstate. Sitting with yourself and letting your thoughts pass through your mind without judging them can reduce stress, improve your mood, slow down memory loss, and even help to keep you physically healthy. Incorporating gratitude and meditation into your routine is easy. Just spending five minutes a day on these practices can show great benefits.
The idea that older people are past their prime is outdated. Picking up habits like those discussed here can transform your life in retirement and enable you to get the most out of every day, whatever you're doing.