Your retirement is probably the most important time of your life. It’s a time where you can really reflect on yourself and find out what makes you tick. Of course, as you probably won’t want to spend every hour of your life reflecting upon your choices, and as such you’ll need something to keep yourself busy now that you don’t have your job. You probably already know what you enjoy doing, and have some hobbies in mind, but do you think you might be interested in something new? If that’s the case then below you’ll find a list of excellent opportunities to expand your horizons, and keep yourself active.
Why a Retiree Should Garden
Gardening is a chance to express yourself creatively while doing carefree scientific experiments from your own home; it engages both of your brain’s hemispheres, and is a wonderful source of low-intensity, low-impact exercise. Because of how much focus and care is required to garden you may find yourself going into a relaxed, almost meditative state. Since it encourages use of all motor skills, it’s a great way to prevent or recover from degenerative diseases. You’ll be making wonderful creations, and depending on what you do you might even create your own fruits and vegetables for you and your loved ones to enjoy.
For those who are less capable with such intense activities you can instead try windowsill gardening. There’s less strain, and its an excellent way to brighten up your home. It can come in many forms, from hanging potted plants, to trimming bonsai trees, or even just tradition clay pots. Gardening is an open and easily adaptable hobby.
Why Scrapbooking is Fun
Scrapbooking can be traced back to late 1700’s Britain, and is fun way to create your own catalogue of memories and family treasures. It the art of preservation, arranging and presenting. One of the best parts is that there isn’t any set way to do it. It is purely an outlet for your own creative flow. It encourages you to make your own interpretations of memories, and tell stories in a way that you want to tell them. Depending on what you’d like to do it can be as simple or complex as you make it out to be. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Pick a theme: This is a general idea, as a theme can be anything. You could make one for your pets, or an anniversary, or about a newborn baby.
- Use other media: It doesn’t need to be just pictures. You can always incorporate letters, drawings, postcards, awards, anything! The only limit is your imagination!
- Involve your family and friends: This is your story to tell, but they were all a part of it! Scrapbooking is an excellent opportunity to socialize with those who are close to you.
How Yoga can help Retirees
Yoga is a physical and spiritual practice stemming from Hinduism. It’s purpose is to unify your body and mind together. Often, exercise programs will use some type of yoga, and at a quick glance it might seem a bit overwhelming. However, there are classes that specialize in stretching and relaxing for seniors. Really, helping you become calm and relaxed is one of the main goals of yoga. There are even routines that now include chairs, so that those with limited motor functions can also participate.
There are also the obvious physical benefits as well. One that makes an especially big difference for individuals with arthritis or other degenerative diseases would be the help with your flexibility. As well, anyone who may need help lowering their blood pressure or reducing their stress, perhaps someone who has had heart or valve surgery, it’s a great way to do just that. Along with it being excellent for your overall health, it’s a fantastic way to bond with others.
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Trivia Nights for Retirees
Though it’s often joked about, trivia night has actually become a popular activity that’s been spreading far and wide over the nation. No matter our age, our brains crave stimulation. A constantly stimulated mind is key to maintaining healthy brain function in the later years, and trivia is always a good way to challenge yourself and keep your mind sharp. Your brain will likely have to work quickly and do some problem solving as the things included in trivia are rarely a part of your everyday discussion anymore. For those with a competitive streak, it’s also a great way to get that excitement. For those who lose planning you’ll have a ton of fun planning the theme of trivia night, and finding interesting questions to match it. See if you can get others involved as well!
How Traditional Art Helps Retirees
With so many options available, retirement is an excellent time to take up some sort of art. Watercolor, oil, pastel, ink, charcoal, acrylic, graphite, and even a mixture of any of these are all easy to access. You’ll be keeping your mind stimulated with art as well, though in a more abstract way. Abstract thought teaches the brain to engage familiar subjects with new perspectives or explore entirely new concepts altogether.
If you’re unfamiliar with traditional arts then you can always take some classes. There are may classes available, including college courses or even private tutoring. If you’re looking to save a little money then you can hop online and look up tutorials and videos on how to perform your particular medium, and you’ll find anything from the basics to complex techniques.
Doing Photography After Retirement
You can also consider the art of photography, which will allow you to both express your creative side, and to make a picture record of the world as you’ve come to view it. You’ll find it’s a great stress reliever while also encouraging you to get out and see the world. A camera can be taken anywhere, so don’t be shy the next time you go out for a hike or a trip downtown! Since it’s related to documenting what you see it’ll also help with your memory.
Photography can be utilized in many manys. It’s a great way to keep family members up to date with your adventures, and it can help you be more creative with other hobbies you may be taking up, such as scrapbooking or mixed media art projects. If nothing else, it’s a wonderful way to open up to others and socialize over your photos!
Should Senior Citizens do Volunteer Work?
Everyone will find themselves feeling as if they need to do something for the bigger picture, and volunteering can help with that. There are countless organizations that welcome any and all help that they can get. Here’s a few options you can consider:
- Humane Society/ASPCA: Animal shelters are often underfunded, so they are often limited in resources, and they can only hire on so many staff members. From feeding, to cleaning, to simply socializing with the animals, you’ll find yourself with plenty of options to help out.
- Childrens Hospitals: Staff at these places are almost always on the hunt for warm and gentle people to visit the sick kids, play games, share stories, tutor, and even monitor time in the playrooms.
- Veteran Affairs Volunteer Service (VAVS): This program is there to aid vets who were injured in combat, and provide aid to those that may be homeless and struggling to rejoin society.
Of course, there’s countless other options for retirees that want to get involved. It’s simply a matter of locating one that fits well with you.
Taking Cooking Classes After Retirement
Cooking is an excellent and rewarding art. We’ve all watched the Food Network, tantalizing us with visuals of seemingly exotic dishes and teasing us with feel-good meals like mom used to make, so why not take up some cooking classes and make those dreams a reality?
Cooking has other benefits as well. Your brain will feel stimulated as it requires focus and precisions. Depending on what you make it may even allow you to live a healthier lifestyle. If you’d like to get others involved in more than just eating then you can bring them into the kitchen with you, after all cooking is for people of most any age.
Doing Creative Writing After Retirement
Right now is a great time to be a writer. There are numerous tools available to help you get the words flowing onto the page. The are countless online forums and blogs dedicated to helping writers, and they often provide many exercises and writing prompts. It’s a great way to practice self-discipline as well as let your creative side out.
One of the greatest things about writing is that you’re able to do it almost anywhere. You can keep a journal at your desk, write on your home computer, or even keep a notebook with you everywhere you go. You have many stories to tell, so why not start putting them down on paper? The way you write will be unique to you, and it’ll allow yourself and others to have a deeper look at what’s going on in your mind.
Why Water Activities are good for Senior Citizens
Depending on your own needs and conditions, swimming can be a fantastic way to work out the entirety of your muscles in a low impact environment. It’s gentle on your joints, which encourages flexibility and elasticity in muscle tissue, and since you’re exercising you can also reap in the benefits of improved muscle strength and tone.
As an alternative to swimming, you can always join a water aerobics class, which can feature any of the following:
- Water Jogging: You’ll find your blood flowing and your heart pumping in this low-impact exercise. It can be as simple as jogging from one end of the pool to the other, just with a little water resistance.
- Flutter Kicking: This involved kicking from one side of the pool to the other, and can incorporate a kickboard if desired.
- Standing Push-ups: For this, all you need to do is stand along the side of the pool and place your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart on the gutter or edge of the pool and bend into it, just like a traditional push-up.
- Water Weight Training: You won’t need to worry about harming yourself if you use foam weights while in the water.
Should You join a Dance Class After Retirement?
Maybe it’s time to pick up dancing! As a mixture of art and exercise, it’s a great way to keep yourself completely engaged. Best of all, it has a ton of benefits attached to it.
It can reduce depression, anxiety, stress and even insomnia. Studies comparing seniors that took dance classes with seniors who didn’t saw a significant decrease in negative emotional responses, as well as increased productivity and stamina. Those who have parkinson’s disease, asthma, heart disease, and arthritis also saw a decrease in symptoms when they attended some classes.
Decide on what Makes You Happy
Retirement is far more than the end of your life. It’s the time where you can spend the rest of your life really connecting with yourself, learning about the things that bring you true joy. While we made some suggestions in this article, there is nothing stopping you from finding something else, something different, something that’s more you and keeps you engaged. Find what makes you happy, and make it your own.