The prospect of retirement can be thrilling – the freedom of doing what you want, when you want, spending time with loved ones and pursuing new and old passions. However, retirement can also be frightening. As you move toward your final days of work, it is natural to wonder, “What comes next?” and “who will I be?” in the next chapter of life. Our society places a lot of focus on the financial, logistical, and celebratory aspects of retiring – and on the much anticipated “retirement date”, however, we often overlook the psychological planning required to transition to a post-employment lifestyle successfully. Retirement is a time in your life when all you have worked for comes to fruition. A focus on financial security is important, but retirement health and wellness deserve equal weight.
Whether you are near retirement or still have years to go, it is a good idea to reflect on the six pillars of retirement wellness when thinking about the next chapter.
Pillar 1: Physical Wellness. Leisure time is a critical component of retirement, but it can’t always be your main focus. Having a good quality of life allows for independence to work through daily activities.
Pillar 2: Emotional Wellness. How you handle and react to the emotional effects of life changes is an integral part of retirement. While this is a time many of us look forward to, some unknowns can be challenging to navigate without the right emotional support.
Pillar 3: Intellectual Wellness. Just because you are not working anymore does not mean learning needs to reach a halt. Keep your mind open, share your ideas and lifelong knowledge, incorporate literature, and look for ways to learn new concepts and skills.
Pillar 4: Social Wellness. Stay surrounded by an inclusive social circle—it can help fill the initial gap from being with colleagues every day to an independent lifestyle. Whether it be volunteering, an evening class, or community involvement, find those with similar interests, stay connected and put yourself out there.
Pillar 5: Environmental Wellness. Live in an environment that is comfortable and will help you thrive. This can include making changes to your home, downsizing or moving to a different area more aligned with your retirement goals, like being closer to family or living in a new climate.
Pillar 6: Spiritual Wellness. Establish harmonious living that has a sense of purpose. Enrich your life and the lives of those around you. You deserve the retirement you earned—remember that.
The path to retirement preparedness is not linear, nor is it the same for every person. As you prepare for this milestone, consider these pillars and make your future emotional wellness as important as your future financial wellness so you can enter your retirement financially and emotionally ready.