People who make the most of their retirement years usually adopt these daily 10 habits

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Retirement is a phase of life that plenty of us look forward to.

We can relax, pursue hobbies and interests that may have been put on hold during working years, and generally enjoy life.

It’s time on our hands to do what we want, but that doesn’t mean planning isn’t still required. Especially if we want to make the most of it.

People who do just that adopt certain daily habits that help them stay active, healthy, and engaged for their golden years.

Let’s take a look.

1) They devote time to hobbies

My grandma was a great role model for making the most of your retirement years.

Even when she was in her 80’s, she stayed super active.

She had countless hobbies and interests that she was involved in. She joined clubs and societies and devoted time to various pursuits and passions.

Even though she’d always been a keen artist, it wasn’t until retirement that she found the time to improve her painting.

She taught me something really important:

We can always pick up something new or improve a skill. In retirement, we get to do it for the sheer joy of it.

The point is to never stop playing and embrace your creativity.

As pointed out by psychiatrist George Vaillant, MD…

“Whether it is building a boat, taking up painting, or finding a fresh way to teach a child how to do long division, engaging the creative side of your mind enhances the quality of your retirement. Becoming lost in creativity also helps you discover yourself — and may let others discover you, too.”

2) They do at least 20 minutes of exercise

Expert advice says adults aged 65 and older need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, or around 20 minutes a day. 

Being active doesn’t necessarily mean hardcore exercise. In fact, as we age, that’s not always the best approach.

My dad used to love squash and mountain biking, but now in his mid-70s, he’s swapped those for daily walks and morning stretches.

The good news is that we’re all staying fitter and healthier for longer these days. But degrading health is certainly one of the factors that can threaten an otherwise blissful retirement.

That’s why incorporating plenty of movement is important. Not only will it help maintain physical health, but it does wonders for mental well-being too.

3) They call, text, or spend time with loved ones

For plenty of us, work becomes part of our social life.

We don’t have to make an effort to see people, it happens every day anyway. But when your time is your own again, that’s not the case.

It demands a conscious effort to reach out and keep in touch.

That may be with former colleagues, friends, or family members.

Scientists have concluded that at any stage of life, it is the quality of our relationships that makes us happy.

But studies have shown that big life events like retirement can reduce our social network.

That’s why taking the time to reach out and nurture your connections every single day becomes even more important.

4) They aim to learn something new every day

When I was at school, I was very interested in chemistry. But as I narrowed down my career options, I realized it wasn’t a subject I was going to use.

So I stopped learning it.

Many years later, I realized the error of my ways and took an online course to explore more.

We can get stuck in that way of thinking. The one that tells us that if we don’t need it for our jobs or we’re not going to make money out of it, then what’s the point?!

Yet learning is never wasted.

It expands our minds and keeps us curious about life.

That engagement with the world around us is a part of what makes life worth living.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be formal learning. It’s just as much about asking questions and staying open.

But people who make the most of their retirement see themselves as life-long learners.

5) They make themselves useful

Social participation is one of the keys to a fulfilling retirement according to research.

We all want to find purpose in our lives. When we no longer have a job to fulfill this, we have to find it in other things.

Getting involved in the community, volunteering, doing bits of work, and helping out can be a really good way to do it.

A recent study published in 2023 concluded that retirees who got involved in humanitarian, religious, or part-time activities had more successful retirements.

It allowed them to feel useful, allowed them to share experiences, and in some instances, earned them extra money.

6) They cultivate a positive mindset

One of the retirement obstacles to retirement can come from adjusting to change, and a positive view has been found to be really beneficial for that.

Your frame of mind isn’t something you’re stuck with, it’s something malleable. So even if you’ve always been a glass-half-empty kind of person, that can change.

Making the most of your retirement means seeing it as an opportunity.

Certain daily mindset habits can help you to create a positive attitude:

All these can help you focus on the present moment and appreciate life’s blessings. That’s going to improve your mental health and overall outlook on life.

7) They lean on routine

Here’s the funny thing:

We spend so much of our working lives looking forward to all that freedom. But when it arrives, many people can feel overwhelmed and not know what to do with it.

That’s because they’re used to so much of their time being mapped out for them.

You can feel slightly adrift and struggle to adjust to no longer needing to be in certain places at particular times.

That’s why routine can be really grounding, as highlighted by WebMD:

“If you have a plan, you’ll feel more in control. You will have made many decisions in advance, and you can focus on making good choices for the ones that remain.”

Waking up around the same time every day, eating meals at similar times, scheduling exercise and other daily to-do’s can offer structure to your day.

8) They do puzzles and crosswords to stay sharp

Playing certain games or doing puzzles is actually a way of training your brain, which helps to keep you sharp.

Making the most of retirement means keeping not just a healthy body, but a healthy mind too.

Whether it’s sudoku, crosswords, jigsaws, playing cards, board games, or even little math challenges — integrating some form of daily challenges for the mind is important.

As we get older, certain mental abilities like our processing speed, reaction time, memory, planning skills, and decision-making can start to decline.

But according to the research, these simple habits can sharpen these abilities and reduce some age-related memory problems.

9) They keep a check on their finances 

It’s the boring, and perhaps even stressful side to retirement. But we can’t overlook it if we want to enjoy our years in comfort.

Having a clear grasp of your finances and budgeting means you know what you’ve got to spend, what your priorities are, and what’s left over.

Retirement planner Steve Vernon explains:

“It’s important to analyze how your spending will change in retirement, so you can manage your spending to match your retirement income. For most retirees, some expenses will drop and some will increase compared to their working years.”

Once you know this, he recommends:

  • Determining your spending needs versus your wants
  • Picking out a good budgeting method that you can work with
  • Remembering to think about long-term potential needs and not just about right now

Financial peace of mind is clearly significant in being able to relax and make the most of your retirement.

That way, you can still have plenty of fun.

10) They stay open to (everyday) adventures

One of my favorite quotes that reminds me to embrace life is:

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”

People who make the most of their retirement don’t see it as a time to wind down, they’re just getting started!

Be sure to enjoy your newfound freedom. That means balancing stability and routine along with pushing boundaries.

Sure, that might involve bigger adventures like far-flung travel, going back to school, skydiving, and more.

But it can be much more humble and closer to home too:

  • Grow your own vegetables
  • Get a tattoo
  • Discover astronomy and star gazing
  • Adopt a pet
  • Try new recipes and cuisines
  • Visit new places
  • Go on hikes
  • Have picnics
  • Trace your family tree and genealogy

Making expansion and reinvention a part of your retirement can bring newfound joys, and stop you from getting stuck in a rut.

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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