The Importance of Wellness in Retirement
We all know that wellness is important and maintaining our physical, mental and emotional health is key to a happy life.
Sometimes it’s easy to think that when retirement rolls around, you’ll be relaxed and happy 24/7. After all, how could you feel stressed or overly out of shape when you’re able to pursue hobbies every day, or enjoy time outside or at the gym whenever you please?
Unfortunately, retirees often face depression, anxiety, and declining physical health as a result of not having any structure in their daily life. Even more unfortunate is the fact that depression in the senior citizen population often goes untreated. People aren’t sure if and when to speak up, and often don’t see the negative impact on their physical health (and their finances).
Staying Healthy is Cost Effective
First and foremost, let’s talk about the different ways your mental and physical health impact your finances. As a financial planner, I see examples of this every day. If you aren’t physically and mentally healthy, your expenses naturally start to climb. For example, it may be more frequent visits to the doctor. However, sometimes your lack of health can lead to much bigger unexpected expenses, like having to look for a memory care center earlier than expected, or undergoing major surgery to maintain your health.
I’m not a doctor, but in my own personal experience, and in my experience working with retirees, I can say that there seems to be a connection between every part of our health. When we’re mentally and emotionally healthy, we’re more likely to stay physically well. If one of those three elements are out of balance, the other two start to decline.
This can be a real financial problem. Rather than waiting until it’s too late, and you’re stuck with the huge expenses associated with caring for an unhealthy body and mind in retirement, focus on getting out in front of it.
Think about whether you’d utilize a local gym membership, or if you’d enjoy a group fitness class in your area. Consider investing in a few counseling sessions as you make the transition to retirement – or if you feel you’re getting out of balance after being retired for a few years. Budget for regular doctor’s visits, speak up if you feel something is wrong physically or mentally, and advocate for what you need in your life in order to stay healthy in every way.
Holistic Wellness Promotes Longevity
We all want to live a long and happy life and many of us look forward to retirement for a large part of our career. You want to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for a successful lifestyle when you retire, and part of living up to your own expectations is doing everything you can to live for a long time and to enjoy your time in retirement.
Holistic wellness is a big part of making sure you’re both fulfilled and healthy enough to stick it out for the long haul. I know, “holistic wellness” may sound like a woo-woo term, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds. For most people, holistic wellness in retirement looks like finding balance in their lifestyle, staying physically active, finding ways to keep mentally engaged and emotionally fulfilled, and taking care of themselves by eating well. For you, there might be one or two more necessary wellness items peppered into the mix, but in general, it’s all about making sure that all of you is healthy.
It’s not a secret that an unhealthy lifestyle could potentially shorten your life. When all of you is healthy, you’re more likely to live longer and actually be able to enjoy your days.
How to Stay Healthy
There are a few ways that retirees can focus on wellness. First, let’s focus on a few easy physical things you can do to stay fit.
Join a gym
Try low-impact exercises like walking or yoga
Test out new group fitness classes to mix up your routine
Focus on healthy foods
Drink plenty of water
Take your doctor-recommended vitamins, medicine, or supplements
Stretch every day
Attend routine doctor’s visits
Speak up if something feels wrong, or out of alignment – you need to advocate for your own physical health
Next, you can focus on mental/emotional health:
Attend therapy or counseling if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or if you just feel like you need to talk through how you’re feeling right now
Find a friend group of fellow retirees
Engage with family and friends – don’t let relationships fall flat in retirement
Continue to make time for your spouse
Pursue a favorite hobby – or try something new
Attend regular services at your place of worship
Get involved in your community
Plan ahead for how you’ll spend your day-to-day
Budget for bigger “bucket list” items that you’ve been looking forward to for years – like travel
Continue your education, or find a part-time job if you find that a retiree lifestyle isn’t engaging you enough
Ask For Help
One of the most important things you can do when focusing on wellness in retirement is to ask for help when you need it. As a fee-only financial planner, I focus on creating comprehensive retirement plans with my clients. That often means having a conversation around health and wellness. However, you can also speak with family members, friends, or your doctor if you want to put together a unique health plan for the transition into retirement.
Want to learn more? Contact me today. I’m happy to help in any way I can, or to point you in the right direction if you’re seeking a wellness professional.