Weekend Reading: Retirement Is One of Life’s Major Transitions — Maintaining Cognitive Health Can Make It Easier

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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Weekend Reading

For many, a lifelong career can be directly tied to a sense of fulfillment and identity, but how does that change upon the transition into retirement?

Maintain a healthy mindset: Those who cultivate purpose from work or define themselves by their job can experience more difficulty when they are no longer in their day-to-day career. Not only can it take an emotional toll, but can lead to overall cognitive effects as well. In fact, for these individuals, research shows verbal memory “specifically declined 38 percent faster after retirement…”, meaning the brain truly is a “use it or lose it” organ. As such, finding ways to strengthen and maintain cognitive functions post-career is key. This article includes a list of ways to stay sharp, some of which include:

📌 Talk to someone: Connecting with other individuals you trust on a personal, emotional level through conversation provides the brain a healthy workout and boosts the production of endorphins and dopamine.

📌 Recapture childhood joy: The power of “play” goes beyond your childhood, so think back to some of the activities you enjoyed as a kid.

📌 Give back: Volunteering for something you’re passionate about is a primary way to live out your life’s meaning and purpose, and data even shows doing so can lend to health benefits, such as lower depression rates and better cognitive health.

📌 Prioritize exercise: A healthy mind is connected to a healthy body, and one of the biggest benefits of aerobic exercise of any kind is its ability to help prevent cognitive decline.

📌 Create a bucket list: Everyone has hobbies, vacations and adventures that spark their interest, and retirement is the perfect opportunity to go out and do them. Pursuing activities that motivate and inspire you will help keep your mind engaged.

Your mind and money: While retirement may be bliss, it can quickly devolve without a strong focus on mind maintenance, in addition to your financial well-being. I feel like there’s a reason “health” and “wealth” rhyme so well…