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Many of us look forward to life after retirement. It’s an incentive to work hard and stay motivated in our day-to-day lives. It’s a reason to stay optimistic. And it can help you get out of bed in the morning on rainy Mondays. 

But retirement can bring a new set of challenges, the main one being what to do with your newfound free time. Simply sitting around all day and looking out the window won’t bring you peace or happiness. To enjoy your retirement, you’ll need to have things to do. You’ll also need to figure out the best ways to do them. 

Here are 4 ways to enjoy a good life after retirement. 

#1 Retire in Stages

Retirement is like a hot tub. It can feel very good, once you’re settled in it, but not if you jump into it all at once. Your best bet is to ease into retirement gradually, small adjustment by small adjustment.

If you’re like most people, then you’ve spent about a third of your adult life working. If you were to suddenly stop working one day, it would, like jumping into hot water, be a shock to your system. So, rather than fully retiring from your job, start by switching to part-time work. This will allow you to grow accustomed to how you’re going to occupy yourself when you’re not at the office. 

#2 Be Social 

Humans are social creatures, even introverted hermit types. A good life is a social life. In your older years, your mobility may become reduced, and it may be more difficult for you to see friends and family and feel like you’re a part of a community, but that doesn’t mean you should have to give up on having a social life. It merely means that you might need to make some adjustments. 

Moving into a senior living retirement residence, for instance, can be an excellent way for older adults to enjoy a busy social life. Visiting or hosting family on holidays is another excellent way to stay social. 

#3 Prioritize Your Health

Good health, for many people, is necessary for a good life. To stay healthy, you’ll need to prioritize your health. That means making sure to eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise. 

Now you may think that exercise is for young people, but that’s not true. Sure, some forms of exercise are better left to the youth—for instance, backcountry snowboarding and hang gliding—but plenty of forms of exercise are elderly-friendly, among them tennis, yoga, and swimming. 

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your body. Ways to boost mental health in older age include

  • Volunteering 
  • Learning new skills
  • Practicing mindfulness 
  • Painting, writing, playing music, and making other forms of art
  • Undergoing therapy

#4 Get a Dog 

There’s a reason dogs are considered man’s best friend. Having a dog helps people of all ages get out of the house, exercise, play, reduce stress, and more. 

If you’re interested in getting a dog, just make sure you choose one whose exercise needs you can provide. Border collies are high-energy dogs that need at least 90 minutes of exercise per day, whereas English bulldogs require only 20 minutes. They also love taking naps on couches. 

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