Retirement can be a big lifestyle change, albeit one you’ve anticipated for decades. Finally— you now have the time to follow some of your dreams that were once put on the back burner. But that can be easier said than done. After all, it’s not easy to get used to any major shift in lifestyle. Your children are grown up, your career has come to an end, and it might seem suddenly difficult to remember all those exciting new things you were going to be doing. But it is possible to find a fresh sense of purpose, and make your second act of life everything you dreamed it could be. Here are our top tips.

Remember the Best Times

Studies have shown that the simple act of looking back on your life can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress, and help you bring the best parts of the past into the present. Reminiscing can help you get back in touch with what has made you happy in years past. For example, if you have fond memories of working on quilts with your own grandmother as a child, perhaps you might like to return to sewing, knitting, or crocheting as a present-day hobby. If you are nostalgic of your career, perhaps volunteering or mentorship can put you back in touch with that side of yourself. The Huntsville Inner City Learning Center, Valley Arts Music Scholarship Program, and Food Bank of North Alabama are just a few of the many options in the Huntsville area.

Get Out and Move About

Huntsville senior exceriseMovement is a great way to reconnect with your younger self. You can go for a stroll at the Madison County Nature Trail, Aldridge Creek Greenway, Gateway Greenway, or try fishing at Madison County Public Lake. You might take the grandkids out to fly a kite or throw a ball. There are also fitness classes just for seniors, much like the wellness activities found at Regency Retirement Village of Huntsville, including physical therapy, resistance, weights, and kinesthetic training. There are all sorts of ways you can incorporate movement into your daily routine, and it’s not only good for your body, but also for your mind. Studies show that regular exercise can promote better cognitive health, too. As for your sense of purpose, few things feel as good as setting and meeting goals, and find out everything you’re capable of doing.

Build Community

Community comes in many forms. It can look like your coworkers, like your family, like your church, or like your neighborhood. Studies out of the University of California at Berkeley show that seniors with frequent social contact and interaction saw 70% less cognitive decline than those with lower levels of social activity. It’s important to feel like you’re with your people, and it can be hard when your community changes around you — as it often does with retirement or if you move out from your old home. The good news is there are many places you can seek out a similar sense of connection, whether it’s by volunteering, getting active in spiritual or political activities, getting involved in your grandchildren’s schooling, or reinvesting in friendships you might’ve not had as much time for while working and raising kids. Social media can help make building a community easier than ever by connecting with people who live around the country or far away family.

Get in Touch with Yourself

The adage goes, “know thyself,” and one of the wonderful things about aging is having a better sense of who you are, what you like, and what you want out of life. But don’t discount your ability to keep surprising yourself. Routine and habit can sometimes cover up exciting new possibilities. So, shake up your routine. Take a new route to the bank or pharmacy. Check out a new restaurant you haven’t tried before, like Toybox Bistro or Holler and Dash. Listen to some new music, like a show at Jazz Factory. Let your grandchildren pick out activities and share their world with you. Or use your reminiscences to remember activities you loved in the past that might have fallen by the wayside. Revisit old childhood stomping grounds or the places you liked to visit in your youth. With Huntsville’s convenient location, it’s easy to explore the Southeast and everything it has to offer.

One of the wonderful things about Regency Retirement Village of Huntsville is the way this caring community can help you achieve your goals. If you’d like to learn more about finding your place at Regency Huntsville, call 256-852-0033 today.

Written by: Meghan O’Dea