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Secrets to a happy retirement

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Secrets to a happy retirement – Live Great – Great Eastern Life

Congratulations! You're about to retire. And even if you're still a ways away, it's never too late to start planning for how you want to spend those golden years. Here are some tips to enjoy your retirement days.

Get out more! Explore the world
You don't need lots of money to do this. If you can afford to, travel, see new lands, experience new cultures and meet new people. And if you're on a budget, don't let this stop you. You can explore your own neighbourhood and city - you'll still find something new to experience! Getting out into wider world and broadening your mind and experiences is a great way to rekindle your sense of wonder and curiosity. Visit a new park every week, learn about historical areas and heritage trails, make the most of your senior citizen's discounts for museums, plays, shows and performances - the options are endless as long as you keep your mind open to the many new things to see and learn.

Getting out of the house is important to also keep you mentally and physically active. Research finds that retirees that filled their days with lots of  television tended to unhappier than those who didn't.

Stimulate your mind
Studies have found that adults over 70 who choose brain-stimulating hobbies over watching TV were two and a half times less likely to suffer from Alzheimer's disease. Other ways to stimulate your mind is to take up classes - pottery, dance, tai chi, creative writing, photography and so on. How about learning a foreign language or a musical instrument, or joining a book club? These activities keep the synapses firing and the mental processes limber. Of course, mahjong is a great brain activity - but try to also get a little active. Your joints and heart will thank you for it.

Give back to society
If a life of leisure is not quite your cup of tea, fill your days with something more focused - volunteer with a community group, impart some of your skills to others or mentor someone in your former company. These are great ways to connect with others, build a multigenerational network and give you a sense of belonging and value.

Go back to work
If you want, working even after you've retired is a way to keep happy and healthy. Research from the University of Maryland have found that retirees who go back to work (in either full or part-time positions) are healthier. You'll also get some income to fund trips, treats and other nice things.

Make new friends
The health of your social network is as important as your physical health. Those who keep up a wide circle of friends tend to find themselves happier, more connected and sharper than those who don't. Join social groups, community organisations, religious institutions or interest groups to connect with those who share the same interests as you.

Rekindle the romance
With the pressure of work and children over and done with, it's time to spend more time with your spouse and rediscover your romance. Be aware that the period just after retirement can be a little stressful - common enough in any big life change. Be supportive and understanding to each other and talk about what you both want. Plan retirement around both your goals and dreams, while remembering to allow each of you to pursue individual interests as well!

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