So, it’s finally happened – after 50 or so odd years of working, you’ve saved enough to retire. Congratulations!
But, what are you going to do with all this newfound free time on your hands? Well, you could spend it doing things to keep your mind sharp.
It’s no secret that the brain gradually declines as we age. It starts with something small, like forgetting why you walked into the kitchen. But before you know it, you forget to turn the stove off or pay your bills.
The good news is that there are tons of ways you can improve your memory and promote mental health as you age. And don’t worry – we’re not talking about doing math equations all day.
With today being Mental Health Awareness Day, we decided to share 7 ways to keep your mind sharp in retirement.
1. Make Friends
Do you ever miss the “good old days” where you and your college buddies used to spend all your free time together? It didn’t necessarily matter what you did – just spending time together was enough.
Of course, your life got hectic when you started working late to get that promotion and you got busy with your kids. But, now that you’re retired, you’ll have plenty of time to make friends again.
Being socially active can keep your mind working. You’ll learn about new people and engage in intimate conversations.
Plus, it’s great for your mental health. Older adults who do not have strong relationships are more likely to suffer from loneliness, social isolation, and depression.
So, go out and meet people in your community!
2. Learn Something New
How do you spend your free time? Do you spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV? If so, now is a great time to learn something new.
Check out the local community college’s website and see what night classes are offered. You never know what classes will peak your interest.
Of course, you don’t need to hit the classroom to learn something new. The internet offers a wealth of information right at your fingertips.
You could even learn a new hobby, like crocheting, golfing, or volunteering. When you learn a new skill, you exercise your mind to keep it sharp and active.
We often talk about the importance of reading as a child but don’t mention it much as we age. The truth is, reading is helpful for people of all ages.
It can improve your memory by keeping your brain active. Nonfiction books will allow you to learn more about specific topics while fiction books allow you to use your imagination to picture new and unique worlds that the author creates.
4. Do the Morning Crossword Puzzle
Do you still enjoy reading the newspaper? Don’t forget to give the crossword puzzle a shot!
You’ll be practicing critical thinking skills which do a great job exercising your brain. And it’s not just crossword puzzles that work. Any puzzle or head-scratching game will do, including trivia games, Sudokus, Rubik’s Cubes, and jigsaw puzzles.
5. Take Up Yoga or Meditation
You’re finally done working and taking orders from your boss, so there’s nothing to stress out about anymore, right? Well, not quite.
Family and health issues regularly cause stress for older adults. And that stress can affect your memory. People of all ages find it harder to create short-term and long-term memories while under significant stress.
One of the best things you can do to improve your memory is to partake in yoga or meditation. You’ll learn how to focus on your breathing to reduce stress. Not only will this help you relax during your sessions, but you’ll learn how you can use these techniques in your everyday life to battle any stressors that occur.
It’s no secret that exercise is important, especially for older adults. It can help ensure you stay mobile longer, improve your balance and flexibility, and improve your heart health. But did you know exercise benefits your mind, too?
That’s right, partaking in physical activity can help improve your memory, help your mind work faster, and stimulate brain cell growth. The more constant your exercise routine is, the more benefits you’ll get. So make an exercise routine and stick to it!
This doesn’t mean you need to partake in 2 hours of intense exercise every day, though. Even a brisk walk in the park can give you some great benefits. Talk to your doctor about what exercise options will give you the most benefits without risking your safety.
7. Eat Well
Have you ever gone through periods where you felt tired or sluggish and couldn’t figure out why? Well, there’s a chance that your diet was to blame. Eating too much processed and unhealthy foods can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health.
With that being said, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that eating well can help your mind stay sharp. Try to stick to a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly important to brain health, so add things like fish, spinach, walnuts, and chia seeds to your diet. Of course, fish oil capsules are a great alternative if you’re not a fan of these foods.
How to Keep Your Mind Sharp
Don’t waste your newfound free time sitting in front of the TV. Now is the perfect time to exercise your mind. Just follow our guide to keep your mind sharp, so you can enjoy a good memory for years to come.
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