After years of practicing a routine that partially revolved around your career, you finally have the time to partake in multiple activities at a time. Being used to a busy and structured lifestyle, retirement can be destabilizing at first. But once the dust settles and you realize you have all the time to spend with your family, start on personal projects, or do anything you want, retirement suddenly becomes exciting. Now, the big question is what you will do with all this time?
Here are some ideas that are not only fun but also worthwhile.
Try New Hobbies
Who says you should stop trying out new things? Now that you have the time, you can finally sign up for salsa dance classes, get into video games, or start your own podcast. The world is your oyster. Now that your calendar is clear, you can start on a new hobby and invest as much time as it takes to master it.
You’ve probably heard this a million times by now, but since you already have the time, you might as well build good habits too. Exercise is always important, no matter what age. The CDC has an exercise routine recommended for older adults. Depending on the level of mobility, older adults (ages 65 years and older) are recommended to have at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (e.g., brisk walking) and 2 days of muscle-strengthening exercise a week.
To motivate you to stick to your routine, try working out with a friend or a family member and have an accountability buddy system in place.
Consider What You Put Into Your Body More Carefully
Okay, maybe this sounds a little boring, but the reality of it doesn’t have to be. Considering what you put into your body a healthy practice, but it can be fun too. Expand your palette to new foods and flavors, or even a new way of cooking dishes you’re already familiar with. With the extensive online sources, you’re bound to find innovative and creative yet accessible recipes.
Keep Meeting New People
You are a social being; not even age can change that. Socializing is one of the most basic functions of a human being. It’s natural to want to be surrounded by people, even in the caring hands of hospice care.
The degree of social activity has an impact on the well-being of older individuals. The lack of it may cause loneliness leading to depression, one study suggests. The ability to age successfully was linked to a person’s religious beliefs, perceived health, self-efficacy, and social relationships, among others. Besides, it doesn’t hurt to gain a new friend or two.
Volunteer for a Cause You Believe In
Maybe there’s a cause you’ve always been passionate about but never had the time to volunteer for. Now that you have this time in your hands, you finally can. Based on one study, volunteering promotes higher levels of well-being in older adults. You won’t just be helping your community, but it makes you feel good too!
Learn a New Skill
Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Maybe an instrument, or even photography? Now is the best time to start learning these new abilities. You don’t just acquire a new skill. You get a good mental exercise out of the process too. A study was done on older adults aged 58 to 86 who took 3 to 5 classes a week for 3 months. Results showed a significant improvement in cognitive functioning such that the increase in cognitive abilities was similar to those of middle-aged adults.
Enjoy the Outdoors More
If you can, travel, go on a hike, see new sights, and enjoy nature. It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as a trip around Europe or climbing Mt. Everest. Even if it’s just a weekend visit to a family member’s house, camping with friends, or a staycation in the next town. Doing things to break the mundane is refreshing and sometimes a welcome time off from routine.
You stopping a routine you’ve been accustomed to for years is a big adjustment. Although the fear of the unknown (in this case, maybe even boredom) can make you hesitant in approaching this head-on, think of all the possibilities. Be excited, curious, and open to new experiences. Retirement is only as good as you make it to be. But no matter what you plan to do with your free time, as long as you’re enjoying it and spending it with people that matter to you, it’s worth it.