It would probably be pretty accurate to say that, for most of us, the idea of retirement seems incredibly appealing.
Typically, when thinking about retirement, many people visualise lounging around on tropical beaches, with colourful drinks, soaking in the sun, and appreciating a deep sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as a result of having “made it.”
How growing old influences my healthy living passion
For me it’s a big part of why I am so passionate about healthy living. When I was in my late teens and early twenties I didn’t have a care in the world about growing old. It seemed like such a long time away that I didn’t even think about it. I partied, ate way too much junk food and way too much sugar. I never considered the health implications in the future.
Now I’m in my thirties and I have a husband and two children, things are different. I often think about growing old and retirement. I’ve started saving a pension and my husband and I often dream of when we’d like to retire and what we’d like to do.
I’m definitely a workaholic and I expect I will still be running a business of sorts when we are much older, but I’d still like the option to retire in my early 60s if I can. I also don’t see being in your 60s as old, yet the difference between people I know in this age bracket is vast.
There are those I’ve seen who have led unhealthy lifestyles and unfortunately cancer or heart disease has taken their lives. There are those who are in good shape, spritely, active and not seeming old at all. There are those who seem more like they are in their 80s as aches and pains take over and reduce their mobility way before time.
For me I hope that now in my thirties I am only a third through my life and not half way. Watching people close to us die prematurely in their 60s from horrible diseases which could potentially have been prevented through healthier lifestyle choices, is a big part of why I want to be healthy now to safeguard my health in the future.
I want to be one of those people in their 60s who is still living life to the full. I want to travel the world and do all the things in my 60s that I didn’t do in my twenties or once I had children. Retirement for me is an opportunity to explore and have adventures.
In order to do this I will need to look after my health so I can live my life to the full once I hit retirement age.
3 tips for maintaining your wellbeing as you head towards retirement age
Retirement certainly can be a great thing, but it’s also true that people who head closer to retirement age find themselves in a precarious situation, without a clear sense of what to do next, without a sense of stability and their wellbeing taking a hit as a result.
Retirement may still be years, or decades, away for you – but all the same, here are some tips for maintaining your wellbeing as you head closer towards retirement age.
- Stay active, and keep setting yourself goals
As you progress in your career, and develop a clearer and deeper sense of the particular “niche” you fill in the professional world, you might find yourself more or less automatically switching to “cruise control” mode, and going through your everyday routines on autopilot.
Whilst this may cause some sense of stability and familiarity, it could also cause significant issues for your sense of wellbeing – largely because it removes some of the excitement and anticipation from your life. Life could become mundane and samey.
In order to keep yourself enthusiastic and optimistic in your professional life, it’s important to focus on staying active, and to keep setting yourself goals, particularly as you settle into a “groove” in your career as a whole.
This could mean starting up side hustles, taking on new responsibilities, or seeking out opportunities to further your training. Just so long as you’re pushing the envelope and growing consistently.
- Make your leisure time count
Retirement age is, of course, defined by an absolute abundance of leisure time. And for many of us, our leisure time tends to expand as we move closer towards retirement age, and have more control over how we structure our professional lives.
The thing is – certain forms of leisure time will enrich your life and keep you energised and positive, whereas others can drain you quite dramatically, if overindulged in.
In order to maintain your wellbeing as you move towards retirement age, make your leisure time count. Focus on hobbies that engage you, and deepen your sense of excitement for life.
Don’t spend too much time idly flicking through the channels on TV. Sure, have relaxing days, but find hobbies that you’re passionate about and that inspire you so you feel like you’re really living your life!
- Find as many opportunities for socialising as possible
For many people, retirement can actually be a difficult period of life, specifically because the opportunities for regular social interaction that the workplace provided, are now gone. This is part of the reason why many older people end up moving to facilities such as Porthaven care homes to maintain some sense of community.
Most people need a decent baseline level of social interaction in order to maintain a high degree of wellbeing, and a sense of balance and optimism in life.
Make sure you arrange to meet up with friends and family regularly, join local clubs and interact with others to ensure you don’t feel isolated or lonely.
So, as you move closer towards retirement age, focus on finding as many opportunities for socialising as possible, outside of the workplace. Join clubs and hobby societies, nurture your friendships outside of the office, and find ways to be more socially connected via other channels than your work.
To be honest, most people I know who are retired are so busy they wonder how they had any time to work as well! It’s the perfect time to explore all those hobbies and interests you never had time for when you were working. Just make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle in order to fully appreciate your retirement years when they come.
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All images from Canva