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The Importance of Wellness in Retirement

You might plan your retirement finances perfectly to be able to have complete financial freedom during retirement. However, if you're not physically healthy enough to enjoy it, you won't experience the quality of life you hoped for. Just having money isn't enough to guarantee a fulfilling retirement. What truly matters is having both good health and wealth. This combo will ensure you make the most of your independence and freedom during retirement. Here are some ways to keep or enhance your overall well-being while enjoying your financial independence.

What Is Wellness?

According to the organization Global Wellness Day, wellness is “a good or satisfactory condition of existence; a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity.”1 Wellness is deeper than physical health, encompassing every aspect of your quality of life – mental health, social well-being, and physical state. While developing a retirement strategy can help to make sure your financial wellness is covered, it’s up to you to take care of the rest.

Addressing Wellness in Retirement

We’ve broken wellness down into three main categories: mental health, social well-being, and physical state. Below we list the reasons that each area of wellness is important in retirement and what you can do to maintain or improve them.

Mental Wellness

When you retire, there's a strong urge to switch off your brain. After years of problem-solving and working long hours, the idea of just relaxing in front of the TV or on a beach sounds enticing. However, to keep your mind sharp and avoid mental decline, it's crucial to include mental exercises in your daily routine. Keeping your brain active during retirement can help you enjoy it to the fullest and for a longer time.

One way to maintain your mental health is to take on a new job during retirement, even if it's just part-time. Working in retirement not only lets you stay connected socially but also, according to some studies, may lower the risk of dementia.2  

Other activities to help your mind stay sharp in retirement could include:

  • Learning how to play or picking up a new instrument
  • Learning a new language
  • Journaling
  • Reading books
  • Doing puzzles & games

Isolation and loneliness are becoming more common problems, especially among older adults. When you retire, your social life can take a hit. Leaving your job means saying goodbye to the coworkers you see regularly, and if you move to a retirement spot, you might leave behind neighbors, community friends, and even family.

Feeling isolated can make you feel completely disconnected from your loved ones, both physically and mentally. This is a reality for over 8 million adults aged 50 and above. Being isolated for a long time can be as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.3   

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to find social fulfillment in retirement. They just require some effort and initiative on your part. These could include:

  • Volunteering in your community
  • Finding a roommate
  • Taking or teaching classes
  • Pursuing a hobby or passion that takes you outside of the home
  • Physical wellness

You’ve heard the phrase “use it or lose it.” This saying rings true when it comes to maintaining your physical wellness in retirement. Older adults are already at a bit of a disadvantage physically. As we age, our bodies undergo various physical changes, like our metabolism slowing down, our immune system weakening, and a decrease in muscle mass. Just like with mental health, when you retire, there might be a temptation to just relax all the time. But it's crucial to look after your physical health too. This helps prevent both physical and mental decline, which can significantly impact your overall well-being. Some ways to stay physically well in retirement include:

  • Joining an exercise class
  • Gardening and maintaining your yard
  • Adopting a dog
  • Enjoying walks around your neighborhood
  • Creating (and sticking to) an exercise routine

When you put a special focus on maintaining your overall wellness in your retirement years, they can be some of the greatest years of your life. While you can work with a professional to ensure your financial well-being is taken care of, it’s up to you to make sure your body is following suit as you head toward retirement.

  1. https://www.globalwellnessday.org/about/what-is-wellness/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/working-after-retirement
  3. https://connect2affect.org/about-isolation/