A long, happy and healthy retirement is what almost everyone seems to have as their goal. Although most people think of the physical aspects when the word “health” is mentioned, we should not overlook the mental and emotional aspects as well. We all know that eating a balanced diet and exercise contributes to your physical health, but what many people don’t understand is the concept of exercise and balance applies across the entire retirement lifestyle from mental stimulation to emotional wellbeing.
Sign up with any physical conditioning coach and you’ll find out very quickly that the exercises they assign you vary every day so that each part of your body is involved in the workout. Variation is critical and it applies to mental capacity and our emotional health. We should keep that in mind as we look at our daily activities and try to avoid falling into the same old rut in any part of our life. This is not to say that doing our favorite things is bad or that seeing the same people on a regular basis should be avoided. Not at all. There’s nothing better than meeting up with friends or going to a favorite restaurant or meeting for a weekly card game.
It's just that, once in a while, you should consider changing things up just a bit or even expanding your social circles. We have made wonderful new friends as we travel and continue to stay in touch with our friends who have been a part of our lives for more than thirty years. We have done new things with them and traveled to new places. We’ve used our new experiences to vary the activities we enjoy together. A small restaurant that served us a wonderful onion soup in a crock overflowing with cheese inspired an Onion Soup Challenge with a judging panel and some very competitive chefs. That night was so much fun it turned into a Tapas night a few weeks later.
There are always new things to discover and it is part of making the most of the Retirement Experience and that's what a healthy retirement is all about. It keeps you engaged and inquisitive which are the hallmarks of a happy person. Making sure you stay mentally challenged is also one of the things that require a little effort because it isn’t always easy to expand your comfort zone. If you’re an avid reader, you should make sure you explore new authors or even a new genre. Who knows, you may find yourself a new lover of Shakespeare or become addicted to crime novels. Why not start a book club, if you’re not part of one already, and make it a point to vary the assignment and explore new things? Consider expanding the discussion to a “hands on” experience. Is there a new movie coming out based on a novel? Why not, as a group, read the novel first, discuss it and then go see the movie? One of my wife’s favorite authors based her novels on a fictional town and one of the characters had a reputation of being quite the cook who shared her recipes with the readers. One the most talked about book club meetings my wife attended was a sampling of some of those recipes. Happily, I was in attendance so I can attest that the woman knew how to cook.
Just a little variation on some of the activities you do on a regular basis can add variety and excitement to your life and make a healthy retirement a reality. New things are always good, and they help us expand the possibilities in our life. We are all a work in progress and part of that effort is to challenge ourselves to enjoy life to the fullest. After all, retirement should be the time you reap the rewards of your efforts and get as much happiness as you can from this incredible opportunity we call “life”. It’s time to make a new beginning and Enjoy Retired Life!