You can do all the retirement planning you need in order to secure total financial freedom in retirement. But without the physical health to enjoy it – you’re missing out on the quality of life you envisioned. Wealth alone does not determine how much you will enjoy retirement. It’s a combination of health and wealth that will help you get the most out of your independence and freedom in retirement. Below are a few ways in which you can work to maintain or improve your overall wellness as you enjoy your time of financial independence.
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What Is Wellness?According to the Global Wellness Day organization, wellness is “a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.”1 The idea of wellness stems farther than physical health, as it is meant to encompass every aspect of your quality of life – mental health, social well-being and physical state. And while developing a retirement plan can help to make sure your financial wellness is covered, it’s up to you to take care of the rest.
Addressing Wellness in RetirementWe’ve broken the biggest areas of wellness down into three categories: mental health, social well-being and your physical state. Below are the reasons why each area of wellness is important in retirement and what you can do to maintain or improve on them.
Mental WellnessThe temptation to turn your brain off during retirement can be a big one. Considering you’ve spent decades problem solving for 40+ hours a week, the idea of relaxing and unwinding in front of the television or along a sandy shoreline can be extra appealing. But in order to stay mentally well and ward off cognitive decline, it’s important to incorporate mental exercises into your daily retirement routine. Staying sharp and keeping an active mind in retirement can help you to enjoy your retirement for longer. One possible way of keeping your mental health in check? Consider taking on a new job in retirement, even just as a part-time position. According to the American Psychological Association, a 2009 study revealed that those who were working in retirement had levels of well-being in both health and overall satisfaction that were on par with those who were younger and not yet retired. And beyond satisfaction, working in retirement has proved in some cases to effectively ward off cognitive decline and diseases. A study of nearly half a million retiree-aged participants showed that for every additional year worked, the risk of dementia was reduced by 3.2 percent.2 Other activities to help your mind stay sharp in retirement could include:
- Picking up a new instrument
- Learning a new language
- Reading books
- Doing puzzles & games
- Social Wellness
- Volunteering in your community
- Finding a roommate
- Taking or teaching classes
- Pursue a hobby or passion that takes you outside of the home
- Physical Wellness
- Joining an exercise class
- Garden and maintain your yard
- Adopting a dog
- Enjoying walks around your neighborhood
- Creating (and sticking to) an exercise routine