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How to add meaning to a Retired Life?

“Retirement is when you stop living at work and start working at living”

Retirement is one milestone in people’s lives which they look forward to as soon as they reach middle age. All the pursuits are kept for the time when they won’t be working nine to five and would have hours to spare. Hobbies that were once abandoned, trips that were once postponed due to lack of time. Retirement can make them turn from dreams to reality.

The few months post retirement can be termed as the “golden period” when people indulge. There is a lot of free time and fewer responsibilities. Hanging out with old friends, exercise, cooking, reading and gardening are only a few of the examples of what people plan to do. However, not all seniors retire with a plan. The free time comes with a lot of rumination about one’s existence and purpose in life. If not planned in advance, post-retirement period becomes a burden and makes people anxious or depressed or both. The most common challenges faced by the elderly are

  • Lack of direction and purpose in life
  • Loneliness as children grow up and tend to spend less time with parents
  • Declining health
  • Death of spouse/ close friends

These factors often create significant stress which might further develop into depression and other psychological problems. Given below are a few pointers which would help seniors live a happy life after retirement.

  1. Explore what gives you purpose – Having a purpose in life is of utmost importance. It gives us a reason to get out of bed and get going. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment reminding us that we are working towards a goal. What counts as a purposeful activity will be different for every individual. Finding your purpose can be fun! If you’re not sure what gives you purpose now that you’re not at work, try some different things to see how they make you feel.
    • Do something creative: Whether it’s painting, drawing, dancing, writing or building – find a creative activity that brings you joy. You might love the challenge of picking up a new skill, or return to a hobby you loved when you were a child.
    • Volunteer your time and skills: Volunteering can take many forms: from using your skills to help run a non-profit organisation, to assisting fundraising events for a local school or simply visiting the residents of a nursing home to brighten their day with a friendly chat.
    • Start a new hobby: Hobbies are fun ways to spend time. One can enjoy the beauty of nature while gardening or learn to cook a new cuisine or just wipe off the dust from those old poetry books and start reading. The choices are endless.
  1. Connect with the outside world – Human beings are social by nature. Surviving in solitude can affect one adversely. Retirement sometimes makes an individual more isolated as the workplace is also where one’s social group is. Finding ways to connect with others beyond work can be an important way to promote your mental wellbeing. If you’re stuck with where to start when it comes to socialising, try some of these tips:
    • reconnect with old friends using social media
    • make a weekly date to see a loved one or friend for a meal or a cup of tea and a chat
    • visit the local library or community centre and ask what regular activities they run
    • take part in cultural activities by attending festivals, plays or concerts
    • if you belong to a place of worship or want to explore your spirituality, attend events or services at your place of worship.
    • Connection is not necessarily to be made with people. One can always spend more time with nature- going for walks or hikes or with one’s pet. The key is to connect with the world. If you need companionship services or assistance services, then you can seek professional help and step outdoors carefree.
  1. Focus on your physical health – It is a fact well known that there is a connection between the mind and the body. If one is physically fit, one is mentally fit too and vice versa. The primary focus after retirement should be on maintaining one’s physical health. Maintaining a proper sleep-wake cycle, eating nutritious food, exercising and regular health check ups are necessary not only for the body but also for one’s general well being. If you have been living a sedentary lifestyle, now is the time to get active. Regular walks, yoga and other light exercises are instrumental in reducing stress hormone and release of endorphins in the body. It is often seen that as one gets older, health anxiety tends to increase. If you have any concerns about your physical health or you’ve noticed something has changed in your body, talk to your family doctor about it rather than letting it sit on your mind. And if you find your worries are persistent, talk to your doctor about a plan to help manage them – getting older doesn’t have to mean you live with fear about your body.
  1. Seek support – Sometimes nothing helps and one just feels ”blue” persistently. These are the times when external support is required. You can talk to your family doctor if you are feeling sad or anxious for a prolonged period of time (more than two weeks). The doctor would further guide you if you require the services of a mental health professional (Psychiatrist, Clinical Psychologist, Counsellor). Always remember, seeking support doesn’t mean that you are weak. Mental health conditions like anxiety or depression can affect anyone at any time. It’s important to know that these conditions are health conditions, like catching a cold, not a weakness or character flaw. The good news is they can be managed and treated by health professionals. You just need to reach out https://www.samvednacare.com/ and ask for it.
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Samvedna Senior Care, G-7 Oriental Villas, Sushant Lok III, Sector 57, Gurgaon

Samvedna Senior Care, C-13 Anand Niketan, New Delhi