When we’re younger, we often think to ourselves, “I cannot wait until I retire!” But what happens to your mental health when that day actually comes?
-Have a plan- What have you been waiting to do? Travel? Write about your life? Play guitar more? Volunteer? Make a schedule and do the things you’ve been waiting to do for yourself. I have seen far, far too many people fall into humdrum boredom and depression following retirement because they do not have a schedule and stick to it.
-Move more- Exercise as much as you’re able. It’ll help you keep your mood up and your body fit, looking good, and feeling good.
-Plan for mental health challenges- Had issues with depression or anxiety during your lifetime? Suffer from a trauma or major loss? Get ready for some of those feelings to come flooding back once you have a little more time on your hands. I see it happen often with retired patients. These feelings are not fun to deal with so create a game plan for managing those feelings and get help from a group, a therapist, or otherwise.
-Plan for physical challenges- Some people retire because they’re no longer physical capable of working. Some retire because it’s just “that time” or they have plans. Physically, you may be capable now but with older age comes the decline of our physical bodies. You need to consider this carefully and think about ways you can feel joy and love life even though your physical body isn’t always able to function as well as it used to. When planning for retirement, try and consider creating some plans that include both movement related hobbies (biking, swimming, dancing, etc) and creative hobbies (flower arranging, writing, inventing).