Since retiring I have spent time reading about longevity and healthy aging. It’s not a new area of exposure for me, but it is interesting that I have time and energy now to implement some of the things/activities recommended. I’ve noticed that the newest buzzword for this area is “self-care”…so to be current, here my Top 5 Self-Care Elements in Retirement Transition.
- Movement – Physical activity everyday is associated with increased longevity, reduction of disease, reduced stress/anxiety, improved thinking/memory and improved sleep. I am no longer tied to a desk and/or meeting room for hours on end, so of course it should be easy to get in daily movement! Surprisingly, it is not as easy as expected. Some of my favorite things are passive: blogging (reading, commenting, writing), journaling, reading, and crosswords. In a given week I do have yoga, Zumba, and my Walk & Talks. I’ve recently purchased a FitBit step tracker to see if that will motivate me to move more each day.
- Try New Things – Retirement gurus agree, plan activities that are linked to your vision/values but continue to push beyond your comfort zone. While not traditionally what you might think of as self-care, trying new things can stretch your brain and/or your body! Take classes, read books, cook new recipes, travel someplace new (even locally). This month I am trying mediation via podcasts, a glass blowing class, and learning about Tarot!
- Create & Maintain Relationships – Social connections have repeatedly been highlighted as critical for longevity and life satisfaction. It’s about spending time with people who build you up and energize you. Retirement can leave you isolated as you leave behind the easy connections of the workplace. Intentional planning is required. I set myself weekly goals to connect with friends for Walk & Talks, coffee catch-ups, or dinners out.
- Healthy Food Options. Eating healthier is a big part of my self-care focus in retirement. No, I’m not giving up my morning coffee nor my wine & whine dates. But I am trying to do more fresh fruit and vegetables, more water, less processed foods, and less chips. I recently tried Hello Fresh meal-planning to inspire me to cook more balanced and fresh meals.
- Accept My Uniqueness. This is a big element of self-care for me, and a big work-in-progress. Practice gratitude for who I am and what I have. Becoming aware of your negative habits is a start. Yes, I constantly compare myself to others and despair. D is writing a book and getting it published, K & D & S are all blogging frequently with great content and have so many commenters, R & L & P & K are traveling once again for exciting adventures (Chicago for the weekend, Greece next month, the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights, 2 week foodie tour of Cambodia and Laos), M & R are getting more out of their volunteer involvement (“this helped me find a great group of new friends”). Yes, it’s their Highlights Reel, but I compare what they are doing to what I am doing and I feel behind, less than, off track. Awareness is a start; I know I’m doing it. Now I need to continue to practice the mantra – I am grateful for who I am and what I have.
Retirement gives you the time and energy to implement self-care. What are your top elements?
Picture Credit: Pixabay