Tips For a Healthy Retirement

Tips For a Healthy Retirement

When I started working at Holland Hospital thirty-some years ago, I never thought much about retirement. Today I sit in my office just after turning 61, and the end of my career will actually be in my rearview sooner rather than later.

Somehow it all happened in the blink of an eye. While the thought of my retirement is exciting, it doesn’t come without worry, and yes, even some fear mixed with sadness. After all, this is entirely new territory. A brand new chapter.

The good news is, I’m reflecting on my thoughts and feelings, as well as doing the heavy lifting (aka retirement planning). Because retirement is becoming a longer period of time for many, providing ample opportunity for both new possibilities and potential pitfalls, I think preparation throughout one’s work life is essential. Sure, that may sound tedious or daunting, but if retirement is going to be meaningful and productive, then we have to put work into becoming focused and ready. (Keep in mind: this work encompasses more than financial planning, too.)

There are no books, talks or TV shows that spell out what you should or could do to fully prepare (even Facebook falls short). That said, to realize that full and rewarding retirement, be sure to consider several facets of your life.

Tips for a Healthy Retirement:

  • Family: Talk to your spouse/partner and children about your goals, desires, and plans. Ask tough questions and have uncomfortable discussions (e.g., illness and physical limitation planning, final wishes/dying and death).
  • Psychological: Dealing with any anxiety or doubts you have regarding taking that next step in the life cycle.
  • Physical: You can’t put a price tag on sound health and wellness. Remember, regular physical activity enables you to get out and enjoy a beautiful day, stay involved in fun activities and be more independent.
  • Financial: Money is far from everything, but pondering how much of it you’ll need to maintain your lifestyle in retirement is still critical. When should you start collecting social security? How much should you be socking away in that IRA? What’s an annuity? While there’s a lot to contemplate, there are also plenty of financial planning firms and other resources available for guidance.
  • Spiritual: How can you better nurture your spirituality? Should you become more engaged with your church?
  • Social: Because life moves fast, and people will come and go, it’s worth the effort to cultivate those personal relationships most valuable to you.
  • Dreams: You’re never too old to learn or try something new. What interests did you put on the back burner? What piques your curiosity? Do you have a bucket list? (Now’s the time to seize the list!) Is there a cause you’d like to support?

To make the most of your second act, do your part to prepare for your retirement now. Trust me, it’ll be here before you know it.

Dr. Jeff Carroll, PhD,
Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services

  • Jeff Carroll, Ph.D.

    Jeff Carroll, PhD

    Jeff Carroll, PhD, received his undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University in psychology and music and his master’s degree in clinical psychology from Western Kentucky University. He completed his PhD. at Indiana State University. Following a clinical internship at Central Louisiana State Hospital, Dr. Carroll completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Saint Louis University Medical School in Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Carroll specializes in depression, anxiety, social anxiety, marital issues and trauma issues. He also provides psychological testing and consultation.

    He has been with Holland Hospital Behavioral Health Services since 1986 and works with adults, couples, families, older adolescents and seniors. For an appointment with Dr. Jeff Carroll, call 355-3926.

    Jeff Carroll, PhD

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