Once you’re ready to retire and enjoy your freedom, you may find yourself refocusing on issues related to your health and longevity. Specifically, how to maintain optimum physical and mental well-being for as long as you can.
It’s common for new retirees to feel some stress about the change in their lives; which is why it’s so important to hit the “retirement ground” running and not allow oneself to be slowed down.
Obviously, everyone is unique and some people take longer to adapt to the decreased socialization of retirement than others. So some simple guidelines are useful as you enter this new phase of life.
First, isolation is the enemy of good health. It’s a gateway to depression, and depression is a predictor of physical decline.
The key to staying healthy and happy is to remain active and engaged. According to a Harvard study of Adult Development from 70 years ago (and which has been updated and is still being used today), the happiest retirees are those who are adept at making new friends later in life. But simply introducing yourself to the neighbor down the block may not be enough. We suggest you take classes at the local college where you can learn new languages or new skills. Start to play an instrument or take up a hobby or join a club that gets you out of the house and brings new people into your life.
It’s pretty simple: Doing new and unfamiliar things stimulates the parts of your brain that control stress, anxiety and mood. When you volunteer at a local charity or school—and couple that with the fact that it’s no longer about money or professional responsibility—you may find a level of fulfillment that was tough to achieve when you were working 9-to-5. These simple modifications to your behavior, along with exercise and nutrition, can help to make your post-work years some of the healthiest and happiest of your life.