Retirement Happiness

Hobbies: A Great Way to Provide Retirement Happiness

Retire On Track LLC.

When planning for retirement, the main focus is usually on finances.  However, planning how you will spend your time in retirement is important too.  One of the best ways to avoid boredom and depression in retirement is to participate in several hobbies.  As Phyllis McGinley has been quoted as saying, "A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away." 

To ensure that you enjoy happiness in retirement, you will want to develop new hobbies before retirement. Yes, before retirement. People who plan to start a new hobby only after retirement, usually fail to do so. In addition, retirees fail to choose the right type of activities for their needs and emotional well-being. For example, if your chosen hobbies include reading, watching television and meditation, you will likely become bored. This is because all of these are solo activities.  Research has shown that seniors who participant in at least some group activities - like playing cards - are less prone to depression, health problems and live longer lives.

A great list of hobbies can be found at www.retirementwithapurpose.com. Some notable hobbies not listed on this site include:

  • Golfing
  • Singing
  • Concert-going
  • Hiking/orienteering
  • Reading
  • Exercising
  • Theatre (acting or attending)
  • Card and board games
  • Mentoring
  • Travel

Once you identify potential hobbies, plan how you will participate now and after retirement.  Visualize it as specifically as possible.  Ask yourself questions like these:

  • What will I do?
  • With whom will I be?
  • Are there any groups I can join? 
  • How do I start my own group?
  • What do I need to get started? 
  • Is this something I can do locally or is travel required?
  • Am I physically capable of performing this activity?
  • Do I have the financial resources to participate in this hobby?
  • What can I learn through this hobby?

Hobbies that challenge your grey matter have been proven to delay or minimize the affects of brain-whittling diseases like Alzheimer's disease. "The wisest mind has something yet to learn," as George Santayana has been quoted as saying. Keep this in mind when choosing your hobbies, especially if forms of dementia run in your family.

Retirement can be a great time to devote more time to your hobbies and add new ones. Make sure the hobbies you choose are a mixture of solo and group activities. It is also important to include activities with people already in your social network, as well as those who are not.  Remember people who plan an active life after retirement tend to be happier, have more fun, are healthier, and live longer than those who have no such plans. Take the time now to develop interests and pursue hobbies to ensure a retirement filled with happiness.

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