Retirement should be a time when you can finally relax, enjoy life, and reap the many benefits of a working life. However, the reality is often different; someone who has planned well throughout their working life can often leap into the exciting years that await them as a retiree, but those people who have not planned properly, either because doing so was unaffordable, or they just never got around to it, will have a very different few years ahead of them.
Taking the right steps to ensure you are financially secure in retirement is only half the story though. It is also vital to stay physically and mentally healthy; otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy your retirement years as much as you had hoped.
As financial advisers we naturally usually focus on the financial side of retirement we thought we’d look at other ways you can make sure that this period of your life is not only happy but also healthy.
1. Practice relaxation techniques
While you may be focused on working hard, putting in long hours to get the job done, meeting deadlines, and making sure your boss recognises your work, you need to also spend time every day focused on yourself and your own well-being. Practicing relaxation techniques might sound all rather ‘new age’ but they can help you amidst the turbulent stress that awaits you every day, no matter what your career.
Try yoga, meditation, deep breathing, listening to relaxing music, or even napping to just shut off your mind for a while and regroup. This will help reduce tension, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and reduce stress.
2. Exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle
Take time to exercise every day, no matter what activity you prefer doing. Getting your heart rate up in this manner is healthy and builds a strong body, unlike the increased heart rate you get from stressful situations. Also, stop smoking, drink less alcohol, and make sure you eat right. Choose healthy foods that are filled with antioxidants, protein, and healthy fats, such as nuts, grains, fruits, and vegetables, and choose the right supplements to help your body heal itself and stay strong. All of these actions today will ensure a healthier tomorrow, and after you retire, you will be able to really enjoy yourself.
3. Know your numbers
As important as they are, we don’t mean your financial numbers!
If you don’t already, start making it a point to go for an annual check-up with your doctor. This will ensure that any health problems, such as high cholesterol, raised blood pressure or high blood sugar, are caught early enough and can be put right.
4. Be sociable
Interacting with friends and family is not only fun, but it also helps to reduce stress. So talk about your problems, vent them out, and enjoy the good times.
Think about joining local groups which could help exercise your body or mind. It might sound patronising but many newly retired people struggle to fill the void left by work, joining local groups, many of which do great work in the local community, can be hugely rewarding.
5. Be positive
Thinking in a positive manner will also help you keep stressful, unrealistic expectations in check while avoiding unnecessary anxiety. Avoid negative thoughts and emotions and focus on the good things in life.
6. Check Your Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight will help you maintain health in other key areas of your body, including blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol. Stay active, eat right, and keep your weight balanced and healthy to avoid future health issues.
A healthy retirement awaits
The happiest people we see in retirement are healthy in mind, body and spirit, as well as financially.
Finding financial happiness takes careful long term planning, starting years in the future, but also means you have to make the right decisions when the time comes to finish work.
A healthy and happy retirement though, means so much more than just getting your finances right, following our six steps is a start, but the real key is keeping on the right track throughout your retirement.
Phillip Bray is a retirement expert, he regularly writes on the topic for a wide range of publications and looks at ways of improving your retirement, including, budgeting, using the right pension annuity calculator, investing and saving sensibly, as well as considering other areas to ensure a healthy and financial secure retirement awaits.