Senior Health

6/21/2022 | By Charlie Fletcher

As a new stage of life, retirement can bring a new set of challenges. By prioritizing mental health, seniors can make the most of this change. These tips can help.

Retirement is something most people look forward to for years. It’s an opportunity to relax, try new things, and take on new hobbies and activities you didn’t get to do during your years of work.

However, some people can struggle with isolation, loneliness, and depression in retirement. It’s not often the job that people miss, but the built-in social structure of a work environment.

More than 40% of seniors report experiencing regular loneliness, and many of those individuals are retired and on their own. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of ways to prioritize your mental health and combat loneliness in your retirement. Let’s take a look at a few effective solutions, so you can make the most of the next chapter of your life.

Tips for prioritizing mental health

Engage in Self-Care

Self-care looks different for everyone, but it’s about finding opportunities each day to do something that relaxes you and prioritizes your well-being. Now that you’re retired, you might have more time to figure out what reduces your stress and brings happiness to life every day. It could include things like

If you decide to become more active during your retirement, make sure you also practice self-care by eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water. Staying hydrated helps to lubricate and cushion your joints, which can make a big difference in the types of workouts you’re able to do.

Contrary to what some people think, self-care doesn’t have to take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. Many retired individuals are on a fixed income or strict budget, and there’s no reason you can’t practice self-care while remaining financially sound.

Try a New Hobby

women in dance class warming up. photo by Iakov Filimonov Dreamstime. Retirement brings new challenges. By prioritizing mental health, seniors can make the most of this new stage of life. These tips can help.

Hobbies are beneficial to mental health. They keep you active and can improve your mental health by giving you a purpose and something to look forward to. Hobbies that include physical activities are even more beneficial as they can boost both your mental and physical well-being.

However, there are plenty of other hobbies that can be just as stress-reducing and mentally stimulating.

Maybe you didn’t have time to participate in a lot of hobbies during your career. Now is a perfect time to try something new, like golfing, traveling, cooking, or taking a class. The sky’s the limit when it comes to what you can do, so consider things that have always interested you but you’ve never gotten a chance to try.

Find Ways to Socialize

senior men playing chess in park photo by vera petrunina Dreamstime. Retirement brings new challenges. By prioritizing mental health, seniors can make the most of this new stage of life. These tips can help.

Loneliness can have lasting negative effects on seniors. It can lead to a variety of physical and mental health conditions, including

  • High blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • A weakened immune system
  • Cognitive decline

Related: The effects of loneliness on senior health

One of the best ways to prevent loneliness during your retirement is to make socialization a priority. Reach out to friends and get together at least once a week. Get on Zoom chats with your kids or other family members. Or, join groups or classes that allow you to regularly socialize with new people. You never know where or when you’ll make new friends! Not sure where to get started when it comes to meeting new people? Try local churches or faith-based communities, fitness centers, your local library, or senior centers.

You can also give your mental health and self-esteem a boost by volunteering for organizations that matter to you. Not only will you be doing something good for others, but it’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded people.

Related: Prioritizing mental health through mental health activism

Reach out

Finally, if you feel like you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Older adults are often at risk for conditions like depression and anxiety, but social support can help. Consider joining a support group, talking to a therapist or counselor, or connecting with resources specifically designed to help you through your golden years.

By prioritizing mental health, seniors can continue to live their best life into retirement.

Charlie Fletcher