Why and how you should be prioritising finding happiness in retirement
Retirement should be an exciting time in your life. It’s a time when you can finally kick sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour. However, it can also be a time of uncertainty, especially if you haven’t planned for it in advance. One of the most important, if not the most important things to consider when planning for retirement, is your happiness. It’s crucial to your overall wellbeing and quality of life.
Here are a few reasons why:
1. Retirement is a new chapter in your life
Retirement is a new chapter in your life, and it’s a time to reflect on what makes you happy. It’s an opportunity to discover new passions, interests, and hobbies. By prioritising your happiness, you can create a retirement plan that is tailored to your needs and desires.
2. Leads to better health
Research has shown that happiness leads to better health outcomes. When you’re happy, you’re more likely to make healthier choices, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep. Happiness can also reduce stress levels, which can improve your overall wellbeing.
3. Improves relationships
Retirement is a time when you can spend more time with your loved ones, and by prioritising your happiness, you can cultivate stronger relationships with your family and friends. When you’re happy, you’re more likely to be kind, patient, and understanding which can help build stronger bonds with the people in your life.
4. Gives you purpose
When you retire, you may find that you have more free time than you’re used to. Prioritising your happiness can give you a sense of purpose and direction. Whether it’s volunteering, travelling, or pursuing a new hobby, having something that brings you joy and fulfilment can make all the difference.
5. It’s contagious
Prioritising your happiness can have a positive impact on those around you. Happiness is contagious, and when you’re happy, you’re more likely to spread positivity to those around you. This can lead to a more positive and enjoyable retirement for everyone involved.
10 steps to achieving happiness in retirement
Award winning journalist and broadcaster Carl Honoré wrote his book ‘Bolder: Making the most of our longer lives’ to challenge people’s perceptions of getting older, and encourage everyone to live their life to the full.
“I was at a hockey tournament, and playing well, when I discovered I suddenly was the oldest player there. For some reason the news shook me to the core. I began wondering whether I looked out of place, whether people were laughing at me, whether I should take up a more gentle pastime, like Bingo. It got me thinking about how we often feel ashamed and afraid of growing older. How we imagine it’s all about loss, decline, decrepitude and sadness. Is it any wonder that “age” is the number one answer that comes up on Google Search when you type in “I lie about my…”? After the shock at that hockey tournament, I wanted to know if there was another, happier story to tell about ageing.” – Carl Honoré
We asked Carl for his top tips on being happy in later life:
1. Don’t limit yourself because of your age
If you think of yourself as old, you will feel old.
2. Take yourself out of your comfort zone
With up to 50 activities a week in our retirement developments, this is the perfect place to try new things. Book an activity you’ve never tried before, have a go at volunteering or see if there is a fundraising challenge you can take part in.
3. Try to stay healthy
Take advantage of the health benefits of living in an ExtraCare development. Try fitting in a workout at the gym and talking to your Wellbeing Advisor about what you can do to lead a healthier lifestyle.
4. Look for positive role models
They could be a family member, a neighbour or someone you don’t know.
5. Seek to become the person you always wanted to be
One reason many people are at their happiest in their later life is that they feel they can be themselves, without worrying what people think.
6. Meet new age groups
From stay and plays to craft sessions, there are a lot of opportunities across ExtraCare to take part in intergenerational activities. Find out what activities are happening at your location and get involved!
7. Be willing to let stuff go
Don’t hold on to things that have no meaning, or make you think negatively. Make your time count by streamlining your life.
8. Be honest about your age
“As soon as we start lying about our age, we’re giving the number a terrible power – a power it doesn’t deserve.” says Honoré.
9. Be creative
We can actually get more creative as we get older. Our neural networks loosen up which gives us the confidence and freedom to challenge the norm. Why not learn a new creative skill or take up a new hobby at your village? Talk to your Activities Co-ordinator about joining an activity, or even teaching your neighbours a skill you already have and would like to share.
10. Focus on what’s important
“When time is running out, it becomes more precious. It gives life shape and, in some ways, meaning.” says Honoré. “It’s useful to know that our lives are bookended. You don’t have to dwell on it, but don’t shy away from the topic either. It helps you focus on the things that really matter to you.”
In conclusion, happiness in retirement is crucial to your overall wellbeing and quality of life. By taking the time to reflect on what makes you happy and by creating a plan that is tailored to your needs and desires, you can have fulfilling and rewarding later years. Remember, retirement is a new chapter in your life, and it’s up to you to make it a happy one.
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