Most people who work seek to one day retire. For men, however, there may be challenges, as retirement can have a negative impact on men’s mental health.
The age at which retirement occurs can have a significant impact on men’s mental health, and it is important for all men to keep this in mind when they begin to plan their retirement. Thankfully, there are things that men can do in order to avoid any negative impacts.
How Does Retirement Impact Men’s Mental Health?
Numerous studies have examined the impact of retirement on men’s mental health. The results have shown that retired men may have higher rates of mental illness.
A study in Great Britain found that older men had lower levels of mental illness than younger counterparts, but that retirees had higher orders of mental illness than working men. Among individuals who were 65 or older, working men had lower levels of mental illness than retirees. A study in Australia found similar results, noting that retirees were more likely than workers, of the same age, to have mental health issues.
It is possible that results will change from country to country, and that people who live in different places will have different reactions to retirement. Furthermore, it is also likely that people with varying dispositions will react differently to retirement, but it appears that more research is needed to determine what personality traits make someone predisposed to certain reactions and how to better prepare people for mental health issues that may emerge from retirement.
However, there is clear evidence to suggest that retirees have a greater risk of mental illness.
Tips for Men during Retirement
While retirement can potentially have a negative impact on men’s mental health, there are plenty of things that a man can do in order to keep his mind sharp, active and healthy during retirement.
Generally speaking, researchers recommend that men do not turn retirement into a 24/7 visit to their beds and bedrooms. Staying engaged can make retired men healthier, happier and more satisfied.
As such, many of the tips for men to maintain their mental health after retirement include specific ways to be involved in their community. These include:
- Make commitments: Retirement can be a massive lifestyle adjustment and can make men feel at loose ends. The best way around that is to continue to make commitments and keep busy. It goes without saying that after retirement, men have many things to offer their community, including volunteering, joining local boards and spending time with family or grandkids.
- Learn new skills: Retirement should not be confused for sitting like a rock. Instead, men who retire should go out of their way to learn new skills and find new ways to improve themselves. Without formal work commitments, men should feel free to finally dive into their hobbies.
- Maintain an active social life: Work, of course, is about a lot more than professional obligations and making money; it is also about having an active social life. Many studies have shown that maintaining healthy relationships is critical to maintaining good mental health. As such, men should make every effort to keep their relationships with friends and not allow retirement to destroy their social lives.
- Maintain physical health: There is no question that physical health and mental health are tied together, and this is even more important in retired individuals. As such, retired men should work with their doctors to determine an appropriate exercise plan that allows them to stay in shape.
- Plan for retirement: Creating a retirement plan can help men maintain their mental health because it will allow for men to determine what they want out of retirement, what they have to do to achieve their retirement goals and when they can get there. The more a man plans for retirement, the better psychological condition he will be in when the time comes.