For our final installment this month, we are going to talk about specific ways to maintain and improve both your physical and mental health in retirement. I’m talking specifically about the depression, stress, and anxiety that can come with retirement and the physical repercussions they may have.
After giving up the daily stress and anxiety of working, whether it be due to a difficult boss, a terrible commute, or a high-stress career in general, you aren’t automatically guaranteed a stress and anxiety-free existence. The first important step is not to allow your work-related stress and anxiety to follow you into retirement. You’ve taken steps to prepare for retirement financially, so reduce the money stress by sticking to your plan and meeting with your advisor no less than annually. We’ve talked about creating a new identity, managing how your retirement emotions affect your loved ones, and how to stay involved and mentally active. All this to say, we have acknowledged the challenges of retirement.
Now, let’s look at some healthy ways to tackle depression, stress, and anxiety that can improve your mood and overall well-being.
Adopt a relaxation practice. This means using a technique like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, or yoga to help manage stress and lower your blood pressure. Working this practice into the daily structure of your retirement has long-term health benefits.
Get active. Physical exercise is just as important as the mental exercise we discussed above. It can help relieve tension and stress, boost your mood, and help you feel more positive. Remember, those good endorphins don’t retire when you do! Try to work 30 minutes of exercise into your daily retirement routine. You’ll be glad you did, and so will your doctor.
Break the worry habit. Chronic anxiety is actually nothing more than a habit, according to multiple mental health studies. Start challenging each anxious thought that creeps in by questioning the reality of the worry. By doing this, you’ll see how quickly those worries scurry off.
Get quality sleep. Believe it or not, seeing a change in your sleeping habits when you retire is totally normal. However, whether you end up sleeping like the dead or not sleeping enough, make sure you strive for eight hours at night and don’t feel bad about taking a snooze during the day.
Eat well. Not only do you need to keep your mind and body healthy, you need to eat a healthy diet to do that. Of course, it’s fine to cheat on that cruise, but eating a balanced and nutritious diet while aging can actually help you keep a positive outlook. Don’t go overboard with the restrictions, though; just focus on eating fresh food. While you’re at it, focus on not overdoing the drinking, too. Retirement can feel like a permanent vacation, but remember, overdo it at the bar, and you’ll have more health trouble than you bargained for.
Before we end for the month, I also encourage you to give your days as a retiree structure; this is critically important. On top of that, make sure you are keeping your brain challenged daily.
Join me next month as we discuss how to determine how much income you "need" in retirement.
Until next time…
One last thought: an educated investor is an empowered investor. Please share if you like what you’ve read and think your friends and family can benefit.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested in directly.
All investing involves risk, including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
Dollar-cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in the price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets.