Four Springboards to a Positive Retirement

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How to have a fulfilling retirement
Photo: Anna Svets

There is SO much open to you in retirement. It might not seem that way sometimes, but think about it: you’ve got the time. You’ve got the experience. All it takes now is some imagination and the right attitude to embrace a fulfilling retirement.

Some things in particular make for a solid foundation to the life you want to lead.

Be Social

Being social actually keeps your brain healthy.

A recent study found that socialising supports cognitive health in older age. The study, published in The Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, followed 1138 people over 12 years. It found a 70% reduction in rate of cognitive decline in people who were frequently socially active, compared to those who were not.

It’s sometimes easy to forget the value of interacting with other people. But people can be funny, they can have great ideas, and they see the world in different ways. Speaking with someone else can give you perspective.

The good thing is that people are everywhere. You could have a passing conversation with someone at a café or supermarket, or you could join a club or start volunteering for more lasting contacts.

Share Your Skills

You have skills, talents, and insight that can be channelled into any project you choose. Go for it. Retirement is an exciting time for a reason.

Some ventures you might consider are:

  • Blogging about anything: comedy, business, gardening, soap making, photography, the history of buttons… Your interests could attract more people than you guess.  
  • Consulting: If you’re an expert in your field, you could start consulting on a freelance basis.
  • Tutoring school and university students.
  • Live storytelling: Start a storytelling podcast or get some coaching and tell stories at live events.
  • Acting: get yourself an agent, or join a theatre company.
  • Teach classes online: You might take classes or teach them. Online learning platforms like Skill Share, Craftsy, and even YouTube are popular ways of selling your skills in any area.
  • Cooking: You could start a catering business, or do cooking classes in person or online.
  • Public Speaking: Speak professionally about your specialty or experiences, or join a club like Toastmasters.
  • Volunteering

The list goes on.

Declutter (Often)!

Your home life is just as important as the activities you get up to in retirement. At some point, clutter cramps anyone’s style, and regular decluttering will stop you getting overwhelmed by stuff.

Decluttering has recognised psychological benefits:

  • A clean, organised environment means less stress.
  • Believe it or not, working through your belongings is often calming.
  • Regular decluttering can help you be more discerning in what you buy.
  • It makes your home safer and easier to clean.
  • It makes your home a nicer place to live.

Swedish Death Cleaning is one philosophy of decluttering that has been getting media attention recently. That’s all well and good morbid, but decluttering is really about Life Cleaning because it’s about making your life more enjoyable.

Decluttering how-tos vary. Some people tell you to tackle one area at a time. Others say to go the whole hog and root through your house like a wild decluttering whirlwind. The important thing to remember is to get rid of everything you don’t like or use, so you can celebrate your home and the things you really love.

Be Active!

Physical activity does more than invigorate your body. Exercise improves quality of life, supports your brain, and can be great fun.

You might not know that exercise produces endorphins that help you feel good, sometimes for hours after a workout. Findings also show that physical activity increases mobility, improves cardiovascular health, and supports cognition by working different parts of the brain.

Now there are so many ways to be active, be it social sports, squash, Pilates, ocean swimming, martial arts, strength training, cycling, bouldering, and dancing modalities to name a few. Cleaning with oomph, playing with grandkids, and taking the stairs all make a difference. Many gyms have innovative exercise programs that keep you guessing and help you meet goals.

Don’t underestimate the humble walk, either.

All good things start somewhere. These four tips are keys to quality of life, but ultimately, they’re just a springboard for you and what you’ll create in your life.  

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