The Key to Happiness When You are Retired

September 7, 2013

Retirement and happiness

Retirement is a time that many people look forward to with anticipation and excitement. After years of hard work, it is often seen as a fantastic opportunity to try new things, see new sights and have a well-deserved break.


However, it is also a time of adjustment. Some retirees find that they are at a loss without the structure of a working week and there can be questions of ‘how am I going to fill the time?’ For some, retirement can be a period of uncertainty and even unhappiness – particularly in the very early stages. According to clinical psychologists, retirement could cause existential anxiety and lead to severe depression. Experts suggest that the key to living retirement years to the full is by keeping both the mind and the body active. This is something that is true for people of all ages, but retirement offers the opportunity to explore new ways of doing so. And that’s the great thing about retirement; retirees have the freedom and time to maximize living life to the fullest. But what are the best ways of keeping the mind and body active and how can retirees increase their sense of happiness and wellbeing? The key is to remain positive and open minded. Positive outlook and optimism is the best strategy to face challenges in your new life. Positive psychology shows that one can see things more clearly with positive thinking and positive attitude to changes, it makes you healthier. This is a new start, a new opportunity,  time to make new friend, get new hobbies, and explore new places. In this article we will focus on “exploring new places”, retirement is an ideal time to see the world.


As the philosopher Saint Augustine famously said, ‘the world is a book, those who do not travel only read a page’. Travelling has long been thought of as one of the best ways to stimulate the mind, particularly through seeing different sights and cultures. Whether you decide to have a short break or a more extended travel adventure, exploring the world is a great way of broadening the mind, learning new skills and also simply relaxing. For retirees, the travelling options available are boundless and can be catered to fit with particular lifestyles or health requirements. Listed below are some travel suggestions and a little information on why they are key to your wellbeing and keeping you positive, happy, healthy and fulfilled.


Cruise holidays


Sometimes known as ‘floating hotels’, cruises are a great way of seeing the world from the comfort of luxury accommodation. Cruises are often seen as holidays in themselves, but the various stop-offs mean that you can see a wide variety of countries and cultures too. This not only expands our awareness as travellers, but also introduces us to greater diversity. Visiting new places is also a fantastic way of keeping our minds stimulated, primarily because it provides the opportunity to keep learning about places and historical events. Education is a lifelong pleasure, and cruise holidays are a great way to see and do lots of new things.


Not only that, but cruises are also an ideal way to de-stress and rejuvenate our social lives. Most cruise boats have onboard entertainment, spas and activities for voyagers to take part in, meaning you can choose to simply relax by the pool or get involved with something more active. Cruise journeys are also renowned for being one of the most social means of travelling, and many travellers come away with lifelong friends following a cruise. As most people will know, a healthy social life is key to happiness and life fulfillment, so it is worth bearing in mind this benefit if you are thinking of taking a cruise holiday in retirement. There are a number of different types of cruises available, both on the ocean or on rivers, so it is simply a case of choosing what suits you and your interests.


Caravanning and touring


Many retirees are conscious about their budget when it comes to travelling, so it is worth remembering that you can still gain all of the benefits of travel whilst holidaying locally. In fact, discovering what our home countries have to offer can be even more satisfying. Furthermore, connecting directly with nature has been proven to have a positive effect on both the body and the mind, as stress levels are reduced and pulse rates drop. Caravanning or touring is a great way of connecting with nature in this way and they also provide the opportunity to ‘go where the road takes you’. It can be a relatively cheaper option for retirees that are watching what they spend and travel activities can include anything from sightseeing to walking.


For those who want something similar to caravanning but a bit unusual, a canal boat holiday is worth considering. Many find that the peaceful, slow pace of barge travelling is extremely stress relieving and contributes significantly to their sense of wellbeing.


Short weekend breaks


For retirees that want to travel but don’t want an extended holiday, short weekend breaks are a fantastic opportunity to explore a variety of cultures and sightsee. Whether you decide to explore your local area or venture further afield, a short break can be a great way to get involved with travel without committing to too much. Short breaks are especially good as a way of breaking routine and having some time away from daily life. This can be hugely beneficial in terms of health and wellbeing, and many return home feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.


These are just a few travel suggestions for people over 50 and it is quite clear to see what a positive impact travelling has on both the body and the mind. Whether you choose to go with some of these suggestions or form a travel plan of your own, retirees should think about taking some time to travel during retirement. The benefits are boundless and it really is worth doing whilst you have the freedom and the time to do so.


Author Bio: This article was written by Lauren on behalf of LaterLife. For more travel tips for the over 50s, visit LaterLife’s travel section.

Image Credit: Pietro Izzo –