Like any transition, retirement can take some getting used to. And while you may be celebrating not having to go to an office every day or being able to spend more time with friends and family, disrupting what used to be your normal routine can have some negative side effects. Here are four unhealthy habits common in retirement to be on the lookout for.
Too much screen time
If you’re used to spending eight hours at work Monday through Friday (if not more), finding ways to spend the extra time post-retirement can be difficult. While it may be tempting to reach for the TV remote, remember, balance is key. Sure, everyone is entitled to catch up on their favorite shows (or even start some new ones!), but make sure to break up your screen time with a walk, a workout, or some good old face time! Just like you wouldn’t want your kids or grandkids to be parked in front of the television or checking Facebook all day, be sure to take this advice yourself.
Whether it’s because you didn’t work out much before retirement or you just got away from it, not exercising isn’t ideal, especially as we get older. Studies have shown that just ten minutes of physical activity a day can be beneficial, and may even help prevent conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Not sure where to begin? Start small with a group workout one or two days a week, and go from there!
Not being social
Loneliness is a rising epidemic in the United States across all ages, but especially for seniors, and it’s having a major impact on their health - including an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and depression. For those who live far from family or even close friends, retirement could mean losing a main form of consistent social contact, but it doesn’t have to.
If you’re close with your old colleagues, make a point to see them once a week or month for lunch. Set up a weekly call with your friends or family who live elsewhere just to make sure you talk regularly, even if it isn’t face-to-face. Take advantage of walking groups or programs like Peerfit Move to coordinate a workout class at your local gym as an opportunity to meet new people and expand your horizons.
Not prioritizing your mental health
As we get older, there’s often a large emphasis on our physical health resulting from more and more time spent visiting doctors. And while it is important to take care of ourselves physically, our mental health is just as important.
In retirement, be sure to prioritize “you” time, just like you might have when you were working. Take the hour-long walk, read a book, go fishing - whatever you need. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup, and we have to take care of ourselves first before we can take care of those around us.
Retirement may be a new chapter in your life, but it doesn’t have to be an unhealthy one. Let’s move towards a healthier life, together.