Retirement plans ought to embody bodily and emotional wellbeing

Retirement planning often seems to be about finances: how much is in my 401 (k)? When should I start drawing social security? Will I be able to afford my current lifestyle?

But retirement is about more than just money.

It’s also about “where you want to go and what you want to be in this last part of your life,” said Cathy Graham, director of the Bethlen Communities Graceful Aging Wellness Center in Ligonier Township.

Finding that out means planning for your physical, mental, and emotional health when full-time work is no longer the focus of life. It is time to assess the coming changes in your lifestyle and the feelings that come with them – and to make peace with them.

“Society tends to see aging negatively, and why is that?” She said. “I can envision many benefits of getting older, such as the wisdom and experience of my life.

“This could be the first time in your life that you really have the time to take responsibility and sit in the driver’s seat of your life,” she said. “The most important thing is to have a plan, whatever it is.”

A big part of the plan should be figuring out how to fill in the time and mental energy previously devoted to work.

“People tend to think that part of me ends when I retire, so will I, but anything and everything is possible,” said Graham.

Some people choose a second (possibly less stressful) job or find part-time employment necessary. Some take on a larger role in caring for grandchildren. Still others return to a long-neglected pastime, learn a new skill, or immerse themselves in volunteer work or mentoring.

“You can pursue an interest you never had time for and it is never too late to take better care of your physical fitness,” said Graham.

Without a plan, it is easy to get into isolation and depression, which can lead to physical illness, she said.

Early retirement is also a good time to plan for inevitable life changes such as illness and death, your own or that of your spouse.

“Have these conversations while you are still healthy. Be clear to yourself and your family about what you want and what your expectations are, ”said Graham. “It’s a terrible time to find out these things when they happen.

“Think about retirement instead of just letting it happen to you,” she said. “Time goes by quickly until suddenly the here and now is.”

Unexpected skills

According to, here are some unexpected skills that can lead to a successful retirement:

Resilience in overcoming adversity – Characterized by positive attitude, optimism and the ability to regulate emotions.

Ability to groom a number of friends – Recent research suggests that loneliness can pose health hazards, similar to obesity, light smoking, and anxiety.

Ability to stay motivated – Set a schedule and goals, make sense of each day.

The ability to recognize that in old age you cannot / do not want to relax can also be important. When your coworkers retire, it’s okay to realize that you love to work and want to stick with it. Retirement is not for everyone.

Metro Creative

Retirement can mean more time for grandchildren.

Keep blooming also offers these suggestions to stay energetic and engaged after the end of the work year:

Be a perennial – Stay up to date by keeping up with current events and trends, staying up to date with technology and engaging with people of all ages.

Attitude of gratitude – Expressing gratitude by journaling, meditating, or writing thank you notes can reduce negative feelings and lead to greater social connectedness and better physical health.

Embrace aging – Look for role models in people who are coping well with retirement and the aging process. What makes them admirable? What is your attitude towards life? How do you spend your time?

Simplify – Make space for happiness by eliminating both physical and mental disorder. Maintaining possessions can take a lot of time and mental energy. As a bonus, selling unused property can replenish retirement savings or finance a new pastime or trip.

Final thoughts – It sounds counter-intuitive, but thinking about the end of life can help you prioritize what to do with the remaining time, which will lead to greater satisfaction and general happiness.

Seven dimensions

The Graceful Aging Wellness Center offers programs for physical fitness as well as social programs, wellness coaching and nutritional advice from the age of 40. The sports courses range from chair yoga to spinning.

The center bases its programs on the seven wellness dimensions of the International Council on Active Aging, which promote “active aging” regardless of age, socio-economic status or state of health:

Physically – Lifestyle choices that can maintain or improve health and functioning

Emotionally – Dealing with challenges and trustworthy and respectful behavior

Spiritually – Living with meaning and purpose, guided by personal and / or belief-based values

Intellectual / cognitive – Engage in creative and intellectually stimulating activities

Social – Personal contact with family, friends, neighbors and selected peer groups

environment – Good use of natural and man-made environments

Professional – Work or leisure activities that use personal skills and at the same time ensure personal satisfaction.


Metro Creative

Having time for new pastimes and hobbies can be a benefit of retirement.

‘It does not matter’

A quote attributed to baseball player Leroy “Satchel” Paige says, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

Not sticking to age can have its own advantages, as Paige himself illustrated. In his last game, at the age of 59 (two weeks before his 60th birthday), he pitched three shutout innings.

Research on retirement happiness by Becca Levy, an associate professor of epidemiology and psychology at Yale University, has shown that when older adults focus on the positive aspects of aging – in terms of wisdom, self-actualization, and satisfaction – on a higher one Function level and live 7.5 years longer and are more inclined to eat well, exercise and avoid vice.

Again, as Paige said, “Age is a matter of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. “

Shirley McMarlin is the author of Tribune Review. You can contact Shirley at 724-836-5750,, or on Twitter.

Comments are closed.