How does retirement affect mental and physical health?
Retirement is a time of enormous change for you and your life as you’ve known it, and has the opportunity to affect your physical and mental health in both positive and negative ways. The loss of daily structure, routine, and interpersonal relationships and interactions is something best prepared for.
Here, I want to explore how this can affect your mental and physical health. Additionally, I’ll show you how you can prepare for a joyous retirement, from choosing the best beard styles or hairstyles to exploring staying active in your later years.
How can retirement affect your mental and physical health?
Retirement can affect your physical and mental health in several ways, both positive and negative, and while some of them might be concerning things you’re already expecting, some other effects might come as a surprise.
- Retirement can be equally relaxing and exciting, especially in the early years.
- Removing work-related stress thanks to retirement is great for your mental health.
- Retirement offers a level of freedom you’ve never had – it’s like one long holiday.
- Without the ‘purpose’ and ‘identity’ your work offered to you in the past, retirement can lead to depression.
- A lack of social interaction can lead to retirement feeling lonely.
- A sudden drop in physical activity during retirement can lead to problems with muscles and joints, and increase the risk of heart disease and other physical ailments.
- An increase in free time paired with a decrease in funds can lead to anxiety.
- Some retirees can feel guilty for receiving an income from their pension because they’re not ‘earning’ it.
How to prepare for a positive retirement and avoid negative effects on your mental and physical health?
I truly believe your retirement years can be the best of your life. Here are my favourite tips to ensure you have a wonderful, positive retirement:
- Stay active and eat well.
Staying active and eating well is good for both mental and physical health and is key for us retirees for several reasons including:
- Exercise and diet can help to improve your immune system.
- Staying active helps to improve cognitive function.
- Keeping fit and eating healthily can decrease your chances of developing certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
- Something as simple as a 30-minute brisk walk 5 times a week can strengthen your muscles.
- Exercise produces endorphins and as such can relieve stress and improve your mental health.
- Staying active and enjoying meals with your partner, friends, and/or family has social benefits.
Not sure where to start? Check out my article on three great starting points for getting active.
- Be prepared.
Whether this is ensuring you plan your finances, or simply getting ready for the inevitable ups and downs, being prepared is key to enjoying a happy and healthy retirement.
- Know how much income you have to spend, and plan your life accordingly. From meal planning to holidays and days out, knowing how much you have to spend and understanding when to spend it is key to a positive retirement.
- Have a backup plan for when things don’t go your way. Your health, relationships and more will change. You have to be prepared to adapt and change too.
Top tip: If you’re not yet retired yet, why not start to slow down your workload and your spending so the transition is easier?
- Find new, exciting, and fun ways to fill your time.
Choose activities that will keep your mind and body active, and don’t be afraid of trying new things. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I think that’s nonsense. I believe you can do whatever you set your mind to.
- Head out onto a lake in a boat with friends.
- Teach yourself to play chess so you can teach your grandchildren.
- Enjoy long woodland walks with your best friend (dog or human, I’ll let you decide!)
- Learn to play a new instrument and join a band.
- Discover the joys of learning a new language.
- Pamper yourself with a lovely new hairstyle, or choose the best beard styles (click here for ideas!) to try out during retirement so you look and feel great.
Whatever you choose to do, make it count. Don’t dwell on the ‘good old days’ of working – focus on all that you can achieve now you’re retired.
So, I hope what I’ve shared goes a long way to help you prepare for your golden years. Whether you’ve boosted your pension pot to retire sooner, or you’ve just celebrated the big 6-0, my guide is here to show you how easy it is to prepare for and enjoy a positive retirement both physically and mentally.