How Better Self-Care Leads to Happy Retirement

Written by Jessica Hegg

The sunny horizon of retirement glows with hopes and ideals of a work-free, pain-free, worry-free life. A happy retirement, however, depends on how you prepare in the decades leading up to your Golden Years. Outside of working hard and bolstering savings and investments, attention to regular self-care is a must for building a happy future.

Self-care literally means “taking care of yourself.” Amidst working, setting goals, raising kids, running errands, and essentially just functioning on a day to day basis, we can lose the drive to actually live and flourish in our experiences. Self-care is the little voice that tells us to pause, breath, be alone with ourselves and tune into the love and attention our bodies and minds are begging for. Don’t miss these quick self-care tips for promoting a happy, well-rounded retirement:

Regular exercise: The coincidence of retirement and old age means plans and dreams can easily get blindsided by health problems. Regular exercise now, and into retirement years, bears innumerable benefits, from combating Alzheimer’s and dementia to warding off weight gain, high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes. Retain muscle strength, flexibility, and balance with routine fitness as well, which helps prevent falls and common injuries that plague older adults.

Mini-meditations: Mini meditation can happen through yoga, tai chi, or simply taking a few minutes to sit still and practice deep breathing and body awareness. Checking in to your emotions and thoughts without the distractions of devices, chores, or work is vital to understanding your own needs and state of happiness, now and in the future. Body and mind awareness also make you a better communicator and partner in relationships. Understanding how you are feeling and vocalizing your wants and needs with honesty will benefit your social connectedness and relationships you have in retirement with your spouse, family, and friends.

Dealing with aches and pains: Sore muscles and chronic back pain don’t just disappear once retirement rolls around. Recognizing day to day pain and developing a daily care routine that helps address it means a stronger, healthier pain-free you in retirement. Your self-care practices to deal with pain may include daily stretches, weekly baths, self-soothing techniques like rubbing lotion on your hands or applying heat and ice to your back.

Routine check-ups: Preventative check-ups and treatments are a bit of medical self-care that you can find assistance with from your doctor. Yearly exams, physicals and preventative tests (i.e. blood tests, prostate and breast exams), give you control over your future, help you prevent disease and illness, and provide peace of mind knowing that there are no mysteries surrounding your health.

Finding time to play: Take five to ten un-orchestrated minutes of your day to literally play. Goof around, dance to your favorite song, roll around with your dogs – being actively unstructured in just being you is great practice for a happy retirement and promotes mental wellness. In retirement, you start working at living, no longer the other way around. Letting loose to play, relax and simply enjoy the fun of life is the type of self-care that will inspire you in retirement.

Cleaning house: Your mental clarity and physical well-being can often reflect the state of your own environment. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Look around your room, house or office – is there disarray, piles of paper, dirty dishes, simply loads and loads of “things” you have collected over the years? Prep for a happy retirement by taking time to declutter your surroundings. Make it a monthly practice to donate gently used items and clothing that you no longer use or that don’t truly bring you joy. Self-care of your own space builds a positive foundation for a happy retirement.

The Key to an Easy Retirement…

Self-care nourishes your body, mind, and soul; helping you feel more connected to yourself and the world. While your working years are so often devoted to others – your kids, your job, your house – retirement is a time of reawakening and rediscovering the simple pleasures in life. Take care of yourself and retirement will take care of you!

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About LoveBeingRetired

Dave Bernard is a California born and raised author and blogger with an extensive 30 year career in Silicon Valley. He has written more than 300 blogs for US News & World On Retirement and his personal blog Retirement –Only the Beginning. Dave has written three books to date: "Are you just existing and calling it a life?"; "I want to retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be"; and " Navigating the Retirement Jungle". He has been quoted in various articles and magazines including The Wall Street Journal, The Times of India, Prevention Magazine and Erickson Tribune. Dave lives in sunny California with his wife and a shared passion for the San Jose Sharks.