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How to Mentally Prepare Yourself for Retirement

Growing old with health and grace takes more than just regular exercise and a healthy diet. You also need to adopt a positive mindset and find ways to make your sunset years more enjoyable if you want to maintain your youthful disposition, even at an advanced age. You’ll have to experience many difficult things as you get older, but there’s no reason for you not to enjoy the rest of the time you have.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning solo or if you’ve availed of a company policy like a Verizon retirement plan. You need to prepare for your sunset years. And I’m not talking about starting a new business or planning a vacation, although there’s nothing wrong with that. You’ll need to mentally prepare yourself for the changes you’re going to experience. You can maintain your physical and mental wellness by checking out these tips and applying them to yourself.

1. Allow yourself to feel and process what you feel

You may feel a lot of emotions, some of them negative, and that’s perfectly normal. Being upset about something is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s healthier if you allow yourself to work through negative emotions. It gives you a way to acknowledge what’s hurting you and how you can make yourself feel better. Forget what your forebears said about grinning and bearing it — if you feel sad, let yourself feel sad instead of sweeping it under the rug.

A good outlet can be talking to a friend or loved one about your experiences. Trusting someone else and talking about heavy topics can make you feel lighter. If you’d rather not open up, you can also turn to journaling to express them. Keeping negative emotions bottled up can give you more anxiety and cause your mental health to spiral, so when you’re down, talk things out.

2. Never stop learning

A secret to avoiding the loss of mental faculty is to learn new things. Picking up a new hobby helps your brain create more connections and puts you in a better mood. People are hard-wired to look for ways to improve themselves and learn new experiences. Hobbies like learning a new language or scrap-booking can enrich your retirement and make you feel less anxious about aging.

Learning a new hobby also keeps you connected to new people. You don’t necessarily have to sit in a class with a dozen other people learning how to bake macarons, but talking to new faces about the new thing you’re studying can make you feel better. Now that you have more time to yourself, you won’t have to pressure yourself into learning things quickly.

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3. Confront problems head-on

If you have anxieties about growing older, it would be best to face these feelings as soon as possible. Holding on to things that upset you could lead to emotional damage that will be hard to process down the line, so prioritize talking and working things out.

Small actions that alleviate the stress you feel will amount to a more positive disposition because you solve problems as soon as they come. If you have to, consult a mental health professional if it becomes too overwhelming. Doing so will remind you that opening up is healthier than clamming up. Remember: you aren’t going to be young forever, and you don’t have much time left. Would you rather spend these sunset years moping or happy?

4. Form new connections

Let’s be honest: the prospect of the people in your social circle dying one by one isn’t something you should take to heart, but it’s an inevitable thing that you’ll have to experience. That’s why it’s best to form new connections in your retirement to keep your social life fun and full. Talking to new people around your age can help quell the dread that may creep in now and then, and it will make you feel less alone.

Another great idea is to make friends with members of a younger generation. The age gap will provide many interesting conversations and offer fresh perspectives, as every generation learns to think differently from the ones that came before them. Young people are fun to talk to, so don’t be scared to open up to them as well.

A final word

Growing old does not have to be drab and boring. As long as you are proactive and choose not to let old age stop you from being happy and good-spirited, retirement can be as rich as you want it to be.

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