Retirement is a time of shifting priorities, and how you spend your newfound free time can make a big difference in your health and quality of life, clinic staff wrote.
Here is their advice on how to make the most of your post-working years.
Picture the life you want
If you close your eyes and envision your best case scenario for retirement, what do you see? Are you traveling? Staying home with grandchildren? Volunteering around town?
“Taking the time to think about what brings you meaning and purpose gives you a clearer vision of where you will find a good quality of life — and some helpful road markers to know if you are getting closer or further away,” the staff said.
Find a routine
As many people have discovered during the coronavirus pandemic, having a work routine has been crucial to being productive during lockdown.
“That doesn’t have to mean packing your schedule,” clinic staff said. “Simply slot in a few regular activities that fit with how you want to spend your time.”
Your routine should include a set time to get up each day, they wrote. “Sleep is the foundation for a resilient life, and getting up at the same time each day (within an hour) is a healthy routine to keep — even without a job to report to every day.”
If you’re used to interacting with people every day, retirement might make you lonely.
A 2018 study noted loneliness is associated with poor mental health, substance abuse, cognitive impairment and bad physical health, such as hypertension and disruptive sleep.
Before you retire, the Mayo Clinic staff recommends thinking about what social connections you want to keep and what news ones you’d like to make.
You can sign up to safely volunteer in your community or reinvest in your relationship with your spouse. Faith-based communities can also be a good source for social connection.
“Research shows that challenging the brain in new ways can help to keep you mentally sharp," clinic staff wrote. "While you’re working, that often comes with the territory: meeting new people, mastering new skills. But when you retire, you may have to be more proactive.”
You do something as simple as learning a new skill or completing puzzles, but Georgia offers you another option.
An amendment in the Georgia Constitution requires the Board of Regents to waive tuition to state-funded colleges for residents age 62 and older. The list of schools includes Emory University, Kennesaw State, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Clayton, DeVry and Chattahoochee Tech, among many others.
Just remember, while tuition is waived, you’ll be responsible for the cost of supplies, shop fees, labs and any other associated investment. Another stipulation: enrollment is determined by space available. Retirees must meet all admission requirements, including submitting high school and college records and on some occasions passing an entrance exam.