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Monday, July 15, 2024

Retirement Redesigned

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Health Is Also A State of Mind

Retirement Diaries #12

We realize that there are real signs of physical deterioration as we get older and, as retirees we feel ourselves losing some of the vigor we always had. The limbs are not as willing to be challenged by climbing stairs, eyesight is for most a fluctuating function. So is hearing and general physical energy. Older people need support as they go about their daily tasks. They hold on to railings and lift themselves off seats with some difficulty. Inevitably they develop a ‘declining health’ state of mind

But this needn’t be.

A healthy state of mind is an option and a decision. Health is not necessarily something to be longed for and envied in some people. It is a decision to pursue a healthy lifestyle; to eat and drink more carefully and to take regular moderate exercise. Increasing numbers of retirees are now becoming vegetarians and are discovering the benefits of yoga.

It is easy, when there is no longer the pressure of full-time work, to slump somewhat into a kind of withdrawal. As people age, they become more interested in their health, but this interest can be negative; always commenting, especially with others in the same boat, about their current range of ailments. After some or other medical treatment, perhaps even an operation, the frequent questions from friends and relatives about your health makes one feel unhealthy.

Good advice is don’t let this get to you. Train your response to others and to yourself to “think healthy” and to keep company with others that are well. Make plans for the future and look forward to being actively involved with whatever you want to do. Try not to make unnecessary allowances for your health.

Johann is the founding partner of Reset Retirement where we focus on assisting people with planning for the non-financial aspects of their lives after full-time work. He had a long career in executive search and leadership as the founding partner and chairman of Heidrick & Struggles in South Africa where he was the head of the company’s board practice.


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