Staying active when you are retired does not only mean physical activity.
Research has shown that being socially active as we age has a positive effect on our physical and mental well-being.
You may have retired and lost daily social interaction with co-workers. Friends may have retired and moved away. We may lose friends and family due to death and illness.
Your previous social circle may have dwindled. Don’t worry.
By staying physically active you can build a new, strong, and large social circle.
3 Ways To Stay Active And Increase Your Social Interaction
If we stay physically active in retirement there are a variety of health benefits. Social interaction can also have a major impact on your health and wellness. Here are three of the many ways to stay active and increase your social interaction.
1) Reach Out To Your Family
When you are available, offer to babysit the grandkids. Take them to the zoo, the park, fishing, on a bike ride, etc.
Offer to take a family member, child, or adult out to lunch.
2) Join, Or Start, A Club Or Group
What are your interests? Photography? Bike riding? Golfing?
Meeting with groups of people who share your interests will help you develop and maintain a social network.
3) Learn Something New
Is there an activity or skill you have always wanted to learn? Is it something like pottery, swimming, bowling, or horseshoes? Learning is a great opportunity for social interaction.
Check with a local college or technical school for available classes. The university in my town will allow seniors to ‘audit’ some classes free. You can go learn and you don’t have to take the tests!
Staying active in retirement can improve our social interaction. Social interaction is as important as physical activity for a healthy, happy retirement.
There are many ways to stay active and improve our social interaction at the same time. You may have to try several activities before you find the one, and the group, that is right for you!
The important thing is to stay active, both physically and socially!
Next time, let’s talk about some ways we can stay active as retirees.
You retired and left the working world. If you liked your job, it could have been difficult to leave. If you didn’t like your job, it was very easy to leave.
Either way, it was a big change in your lifestyle. And big lifestyle changes can cause an imbalance in our mental health.
But, by staying active, you can boost your mental health.
Let’s look at three elements of our mental health that will benefit from staying active as we age.
3 Elements of Mental Health That Will Benefit
1) Staying Active Decreases Symptoms Of Depression
In retirement, your lifestyle changes in many ways. This may leave you feeling depressed, sad, or dejected. This, in turn, can affect you in physical ways. It can affect your sleep, your appetite, your energy level, etc.
If, however, you stay active, you will feel less depressed. There are physical changes that take place within our bodies when we are active. These changes decrease the symptoms of depression. Let’s keep moving!
2) Staying Active Boosts Your Mood
Do you know anyone, retired or not, that always seems to be in a bad mood? As retirees we don’t want to be that person.
Exercise and activity can help boost your mood. When we stay active, the physical changes that take place within our bodies can help us feel better.
When you finish that bike ride or help that young person learn to read, you feel better about yourself. Because of your positive mood, you will not be the ‘old grouch’.
3) Staying Active Can Help You Feel Young
Staying active in retirement can leave you feeling young. Sure, we can’t run as fast as when we were in high school, but we can still run, and finish, the race!
Staying active has many effects on the physical body. And when our physical bodies feel good, we feel younger. And that is a definite boost to our mental health.
As A.J. Styles said, “You’re only as old as you feel, and I feel pretty young.”
Staying active as retirees affects out mental health in positive ways.
If we don’t stay active we can become depressed, grouchy and old.
It is a vicious cycle that we can get into. We don’t want to be active because we feel depressed. We feel depressed because we are not active, and so on. Let’s break the cycle!
We want people who are still working to see us and be excited about their own future retirement.
In the next segment we will move from mental health to physical health. We will see if staying active can improve your bone health.
Staying active in retirement means moving your body and exercising your mind!
But now, unlike in your working life, staying active can be doing things you want to do, not things you are required to do!
If we don’t stay active our health may suffer and we won’t enjoy retirement. And, after all, we should enjoy it; we worked hard to get here!
When you hear the words “stay active” do you have visions of torture? Things such as gyms full of scary looking equipment, strenuous exercising, sweating profusely, etc.?
Staying active does not have to mean those things!
Ways To Stay Active
When we retire, we may feel we deserve to relax. Relaxing is great, but don’t let it become your retirement lifestyle.
Staying active is wonderful for your physical and mental health and it does not have to hurt!
1. Get out of the house and move
Moving your body does not have to be working out in the gym unless that is your thing!
Move through your garden pulling weeds or move through your neighborhood in the form of a walk!
Volunteer at a place you enjoy, like the library, a museum, or a local school.
Helping people will keep you active and fulfill your need for social interaction.
3. Find like-minded groups
Another way to stay active is to find like-minded groups that enjoy the activities you enjoy.
Check your local resources to see what activities they offer. Resources might include local community centers, the YMCA, the YWCA, or senior centers. If there is not already a group for your activity (golf, photography, etc.) you could start one!
The Next Step
Staying active in your retirement means moving your body and exercising your brain. We do this by getting out of our homes and being involved in the world around us.
We used to stay active by going to work each day. Now we have to find new activities, but there are so many thing to try!
Some activities we try we’ll like and some we won’t. That’s okay, let’s keep moving!
In the next post I will discuss why it is important for retirees to stay active. See you then!
The time is now! Whether you are facing retirement in a few years, or you are officially retired, the time has come to downsize your home. This can be a scary thought as you think about all the bedrooms full of furniture, the closets full of treasures, that overflowing junk drawer, or drawers, and the basement full of those special things you will ‘need’ someday.
There are many reasons to downsize your home for retirement. Financial, practical, and emotional reasons are a few. Here, we will go into some of the practical and emotional reasons. Financial reasons need to be discussed with your financial planner, banker, or family member, whomever it is that helps you with that type of planning.
Practical and emotional reasons, how do you tell which is which? I am not going to label the reasons listed below, I will let you do that. A practical reason for me may be an emotional reason for you, and vice versa.
This is not a complete list, just some interesting ideas of my own, and what I have heard from others. Everyone’s situation i different, and everyone’s reasons for downsizing are different. Maybe though, there will be something here that will help you in the decisions you need to make in downsizing your home for retirement.
1) Grow Old Comfortably, With No Stairs, As You Downsize
Do you have physical limitations? Or do you think you might in the future? Are you tired of carrying the laundry up and down the stairs? Do you wish your bedroom was on the same level in the house as the living room and kitchen? Having stairs in their home is a reason many of my co-workers and friends have downsized their homes for retirement.
As we age, we are generally not as spry as we were as young adults. Sorry, but it’s true. Add to that some type of illness or injury, and it will be easier to have a home without stairs. This, of course, depends on your situation. My grandmother had a basement in her house, which she used daily, and she lived in the house alone for 20+ years, until she was 91. Consider what your situation, or future, might hold. Oh, and don’t forget, you have to clean or vacuum those stairs!
2) To Be Closer To Family
This is one of the reasons why Poppy and I are downsizing our home. The kids and their families live 1500 to 1800 miles away. That is a long way to go to see the grandkids! However, some serious thought still needs to be put into this decision. We can only afford one long distance move. We need to remember that the kids may move away from where they live now. We need to consider our future activities and needs. The two kids are approximately 300 miles apart. Do we move closer to one than the other, in the middle, or somewhere equal distance from each of them?
What about you? does your family live in the country and you want to be in the city? Does the family live in town, but you want to be close to a lake? Also consider how close is too close for you: next door, 10 miles, 100 miles? There are many things to consider.
One former co-worker commented that because they lived within 5 miles of the kids and grandkids, it was expected of them (the retired grandparents) to become the free babysitting service. And because the grandkids had to be picked up at the end of the day by the parents, it was felt that the retired grandparents should also provide the evening meal for everyone.
There are many issues that you need to consider when moving closer to the family at the time you downsize your home for retirement. Depending on your family dynamics, you need to decide how close, in distance, that you want to be.
3) Where Will You Go, After You Downsize Your Home
When you are downsizing your home for retirement it is the perfect opportunity to make a change! Do you want to live in the big city, small town, out in the country, or somewhere else?
When the parents of a friend retired, they moved to a different state and a different sized town. Within several years they moved back to this area. Part of the reason was to move back closer to family, but they also found that small town life did not meet their needs. The town was somewhat isolated in the mountains, which made traveling in the winter months challenging. Also, the town was not large enough to meet the level of social activities for which they were looking.
Do you dream of living close to the beach, or maybe in a mountain village? Do you want to live in the Southwest, or the Northeast? If you have not spent much time in the area you are dreaming about, one option is to rent a home, or apartment, there, or even live in a RV, for a year. That way you can experience the four seasons of the area before making a more permanent commitment.
I know that some people travel in a RV for several years before they decide where to settle. Another option is to travel and stay in Airbnb rentals until you find the perfect location. And, you always have the option of remaining in the area where you currently live!
4) Downsizing Your Home For Retirement Can Lead To Reduced Consumption
Do you find that things and stuff are not so important to you now? You don’t need the big stereo system anymore? You don’t need the large vehicle, or some of the other possessions you thought you couldn’t live without? When you downsize your home for your retirement, you will reduce your consumption. If you don’t have room for it, whatever it may be, you won’t purchase it!
If your consumption is reduced, you could have more time and money. I imagine we would all be happy with more money! (I see lots of raised hands!) You could have more time to pursue other interests if you aren’t caring for possessions. Caring for those possessions might be something like having to fix the lawn mower, or time spent dusting or cleaning a lot of furniture. Even caring for a large property can be time consuming.
5) Less Stress
Downsizing your home for retirement could lead to less stress. Say you want to travel, and that could be something like camping for several weeks, or something like a river cruise in Europe. With a larger home it may be more difficult to find someone (that you can afford) to mow the lawn, or shovel the snow. What about keeping the weeds out of the multiple, large flower beds? After all, you don’t want your home to look vacant, like you are gone. If you downsized, it would not take a friend or relative long to check on things for you, thereby giving you less stress while you are away from home.
Your reduced stress could come in the form of having to spend less of your retirement dollars on the home itself, the utilities, or the upkeep (for example, a new roof). Maybe part of your downsizing means fewer cars for which you need to buy tires and insurance. Maybe less stress for you is not hosting the family get-togethers anymore, just because you had the largest home (now it is your turn to help, not host).
Stress can be caused by many things, and these things are something different for all of us. If you are not sure what causes you stress, talk with your family and friends – they can tell what stresses you. Keep those stresses in mind when it is time to downsize your home, and make it part of your plan to reduce the stresses.
Downsizing Can Be Daunting
Downsizing the home for retirement can be a daunting task! These five reasons are the best practical and emotional reasons why we should downsize. We want to grow old comfortably and be closer to our families! We can live where we want instead of where our job requires! We can reduce our consumption and live with less stress! Don’t let the task scare you!
For me, yes, it will be a task. But not a scary task, nothing is as scary as heights (notice the death grip on the railing)! Use the five best reasons to downsize your home for retirement that were discussed to get started thinking about downsizing and develop a plan of action!
Retirement! You did it! You put in your time at your job! You were ready! Or were you? Why do you feel this retirement disenchantment? You just started this retirement journey; will the entire journey be like this?
For most of our working lives, we have heard about retirement planning. Saving, investing, planning, finances, money, 401K, Roth, and pension are a few of the terms you may have heard. So we went to the retirement seminars and maybe enlisted the help of a financial planner. And we were ready! All those years we prepared for retirement by saving and investing our money. But nobody mentioned how we would fill 24 hours a day.
Retirement Honeymoon Phase
We went through the actual retirement, either quietly with no fuss, or with a big celebration. Next, we got through a honeymoon phase. In the honeymoon phase, we finally had time to do the things we have been dreaming about for years, like working on hobbies, taking a big trip, visiting with friends and family, etc. Don’t forget though what Benjamin Franklin said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days”. Oops, maybe it isn’t a good idea for me to plan on staying with each of the kids for several weeks!
The ‘honeymoon’ list wasn’t as long, or affordable, as you thought and you still have those 24 hours a day to fill. Now the disenchantment might set in. You may be asking yourself, is this it? Is this all there is to my retirement? Maybe due to constraints such as money (seems like there is never as much as we would like), location (I am here and my family is way over there), health (my body just won’t do what it used to do), etc., you are left feeling a lack of purpose, baffled or disenchanted.
Don’t worry! Disenchantment is a normal stage of retirement! You may feel a sense of loss because you don’t interact with the people from work anymore. You may feel disoriented with the big change in your schedule. You may feel a lack of emotional stability that the job provided. It is okay! Most of us have been in the workplace for 40 years or more. Retirement, even as much as we look forward to it, is a big change.
When we were children and young adults in school, our life schedule was determined by our school terms. When we were working, our life schedule was determined by our jobs. Our life revolved around whatever our school or work schedule was. Now, we get to determine our life schedule and for most of us, that is a new, and maybe scary, concept.
You’ve made it through the childhood and school portion of your life, You’ve made it through the working and career portion of your life. You will make it through this disenchantment stage of your retirement. As Shakespeare said in The Merry Wives of Windsor, “the world is your oyster”! Let’s move beyond the disenchantment and enjoy the world!
We need to think of all the activities that we ever wanted to do or try. Will those fit into your retirement?
I personally don’t think I am up for the week-long bicycle ride, camping, along the way, but I can take a day-long bike ride! A couple of years ago, Poppy (husband) and I rode our bicycles (18 miles round-trip) from Mammoth Cave National Park Visitor Center along the Mammoth Care Railroad Bike & Hike Trail to the town of Park City (Kentucky). We took a picnic lunch, enjoyed the trail, and the town of Park City, which has a very nice park, by the way. We never did anything like this while working and raising the family. But I have found bicycling does not hurt my knees, it is an activity that does not cost a lot of money, and will fit into my retirement as long as I am able to do it.
What kinds of activities are you interested in? Writing, volunteering, taking classes, kayaking, cake decorating, building a boat, traveling, etc.? While you are brainstorming these ideas, don’t compare your retirement to that of your friends or family. We are all different, we like different activities, and we value different things. You may not have any desire to ride a bicycle all day as we did (we did get big, fat, padded seats). Maybe you were made for volunteering. Maybe hosting a book club is your thing. Maybe part-time work is what you need. There are so many activities to try!
This Retirement Disenchantment, It Too Shall Pass
Not everyone experiences the disenchantment stage of retirement. But if you are, or do, know that it will be a temporary time. Realize you are in a new portion of your life and have moved beyond the child and school portion, and beyond the job and career portion. Make lists and goals of new activities to try. You will move beyond disenchantment and enjoy the world!
“Retirement’s the most wonderful thing. I get to enjoy all the things I never stopped to notice on the way up. After an extraordinary life, it’s time to enjoy my retirement.” Patrick Macnee