Reflecting on what is important in retirement, much is also relevant throughout our lives. For example, the NHS describe the 5 steps to mental wellbeing to help us get more out of life.
- Connect with other people
- Be physically active
- Learn new skills
- Give to others
- Pay attention to the present moment
Let’s relate these 5 steps to mental wellbeing to what can happen in retirement
1. Connect with other people
Good relationships can give us a sense of belonging, and lead to friendships. Whilst working we have a number of connections with colleagues, but when we retire, many of these fade away. We have family, and in retirement will be able to spend more time with them but your partner may have their own interests and will not want to be with you for all of the time. In advance of retirement, it can help to find a club or group you want to belong to, and to build the connections in advance. It could be to do with a sport or hobby, perhaps an interest such as a campaign group.
2. Be physically active
There are government guidelines for how much exercise we should do each week, and retirement will give us more time for walking, etc. this could be the time we take on a physical challenge- a half marathon, or dance classes. It is about finding things that we enjoy.
3. Learn new skills
Learning is not something we just do in our younger years and we can continue to remain curious and learn throughout our lives. I’ve gained my doctorate at 64, but it doesn’t have to be an academic challenge. You can learn a language, take some short courses, learn salsa or lindy hop or use your skills and knowledge by being a mentor to someone younger. What would you love to learn to do.
4. Give to others
Giving is one of the values that appears stronger as we age. It’s not just about giving money, but also our time. We could volunteer, we could also take time to listen to someone we meet and to show appreciation. This helps with our sense of purpose and supports relationships with others. Thinking about the Random Acts of Kindness you can undertake.
5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)
For our wellbeing, pay attention to what is important is what is happening right now. Less about dwelling on what has gone, and worry about what is to come. If we think about – what is important to us – right now. It’s often just to breathe and appreciate the moment. Whilst being out in the natural world is important at all ages, much research I reviewed described how it is particularly beneficial as we age.