Quality Life in Retirement

Retirement may seem like paradise to the unsuspecting youth, but a lot of emotional and psychological burdens come with retirement. Basically this is the most abrupt change in peoples’ lives. Growing up is a gradual process and we kind of ease into it. First we have no obligations, then we start going to elementary school, then high school, collage and our responsibilities steadily grow. After, we decide we are through with our education we start looking for a job and we start thinking about complete financial independence. But when the time comes to retire, everything just kind of stops. You no longer have responsibilities, the routine of going to work is suddenly broken and you no longer see your co-workers on a regular basis.

Retirement depression

A large percentage of newly retired people have problems with coping and adjusting to the situation. A very large percentage of retired people suffer from clinical depression, somewhere around 40%, and this can have a negative influence on their health condition. They tend to become inactive and they just waist their days. This can be especially difficult for people who had a very active life built around their work, ambitious and active people. They may feel as if the ground was torn beneath their feet. This is why it is important that they find new and meaningful activities to fill their days. Staying connected with old friends, networking, finding new hobbies, getting a pet — these are all good activities that will keep you occupied. You can connect with people online and start writing a blog about things you are skilled at and know a lot about. Regular exercise can also help greatly when it comes to both physical and mental health, but we will get to that in a minute.

The new life

Instead of seeing the end of your work days as that great looming milestone that symbolizes the end of your days, try seeing it as a point in which you can reinvent your life. We all have or had some ambitions and aspirations we never really had the chance or the time to explore and devote ourselves to. Retirement is an ideal time to start doing the things you never had time to do because you had to work and provide for your family. Finding new hobbies is a good idea. I’m going to go for the most stereotypical example, pottery class, but you should always go for something you think is fun and interesting. Take up dancing, learn a new language, do some painting, take on a big DIY project, start selling homemade decorations on Etsy — you will have enough time for just about anything you can think of. These classes will help you meet new people and remain socially active while doing something that is fun. You will also further expand your knowledge and keep your mind sharp and focused.

Charity work

Now that you have a lot of time on your hands, you could try and give something back to the community. The magnitude of experience every elder has in their line of work is not something to be trifled with. Regardless of the changes that occur on a daily basis and the changes within every industry, this kind of long-term experience isn’t something that can be bought. Try offering your professional experience to youngsters who are just starting out. They will be grateful for your insights. There are also tones of charity organizations that are looking for volunteers. This is your chance to do something meaningful and socialize on top of it all. I’m not saying you should devote your entire day to doing charity work, but this is something that will help you remain active while also working to help others.

Physical activity

Remaining active doesn’t just involve moving around. It is a good idea to keep fit and exercise in order to keep healthy. Combining cardio and strength training is the best way to go as this type of training promotes maximum weight loss and ensures that your heart stays healthy, as well as your joints and bones. A moderate amount of strength training will improve your bone density, straighten connective tissue and improve circulation. As for cardio training you can look at ironman competitions for inspiration and focus on the big three: swimming, cycling and running. It doesn’t have to be that hard — just get an elliptical trainer for your home or a good pair of running shoes and start training. You can do some body weight exercises at home and graduate to a weighted backpack when you get stronger if going to the gym is too much of a hassle.

Make sure that you avoid common causes for back pain though, since being an active senior requires a healthy back. You might want to read up on the subject regardless if you choose to become physically active or not. Constant back pain can ruin your mood and make you want to avoid socializing with people, which is a bad thing indeed.

The Financial side of things

Not all retired people are financially stable. If you are having trouble with money, you can find a part time job that can help you bridge the gap you might have in your budget. You can also to things like tutor children give music classes from your home. This is also a good idea if you want to help your family out. Taking care of the funeral arrangements in advance is a valid move since this can be a big strain for your sons or daughters. It can also cause a lot of discord between them and this is something that is better to be avoided. You can go online and find a lot of different freelance job opportunities. There are plenty of jobs you can do from home — writing and editing, translating, graphic design, data entry, etc — so you don’t have worry about going to work and you can always take a break if you need it.

As you can see, the start of retirement is not the ending, it is a new beginning. Take your time and think about what you want to do in the first couple of months and just go for it. The world is your oyster.

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