You’ve done it. You’re out of the rat race and you don’t have to answer to the man anymore. In fact, you don’t even have to get out of bed in the morning, unless you want to. While retirement can be a great thing, you should make the most of it and have a plan. Otherwise, you can end up feeling aimless, not sure what to do with yourself, or how to achieve your goals.
One of the best ways to invest your retirement is in taking care of yourself. After all, your first priority has probably been work for the last handful of decades, and time spent in between was most likely on family and other responsibilities. Now that you’re retired, here are some things you can do to prioritize self-care in your Golden Years. (See also: 7 Retirement Splurges Worth Every Penny)
1. Make time for cardio
Even if exercise hasn’t been a huge part of your life, it’s time to start thinking about it now. You don’t have to become the Hulk, either. Even 30 minutes a day walking on a treadmill while you watch your favorite show will be good for your heart and will give you the endorphins you need to feel good about yourself and where you’re at in life. (See also: These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free)
2. Prioritize relationships
When you’re working all the time, it can be hard to make relationships a priority. If your time isn’t your own, it’s easy to intend to see your friends and family, but then come up with reasons why you can’t get together. In fact, due to this vicious cycle, you can end up feeling lonely and frustrated by the time you retire.
Once you’ve retired, though, you can use that time to see your family and friends, even if you feel like you’ve neglected these relationships in the past. It’s never too late to connect and to build the close bonds you’ve always wanted.
3. Schedule medical appointments
If you don’t have any pressing health needs, it’s easy to forget to take care of your body. However, regular physical checkups and testing can help you live longer and better, especially as you get older. If you’ve been putting off your physical for years, it’s time to get one. Along similar lines, it’s time to schedule your dental cleanings, eye exams, and any annual exams that you’re supposed to have. Sure, these appointments aren’t always fun, but taking care of them means taking care of you, and now is the perfect time to do that.
4. Read more books
Have you been trying to read more, but you haven’t gotten around to it for years because you’ve been working full-time? Well, it’s time to get back to it. Find those books you’ve been eyeing at the library or buy them in whatever form works best for you (paperback, hardback, ebook, large print, etc.) and schedule some time to dive in. (See also: 5 Easiest Ways to Score Free eBooks)
5. Keep your brain active
The more you keep your brain active, the better it will work for you as you get older. Get a puzzle book, take up Sudoku, or find word or logic puzzles online to solve. You can even learn a new language or go back and refresh your math skills. Use that brain to solve problems, or learn something new, and you may find that you’re thinking clearer than you have in years. (See also: 25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10)
6. Embrace relaxation
Who has the time to relax when you’re working and caring for your home and your family? It always seemed like there just weren’t enough hours in the day to take time for yourself. Once you’re retired, though, you have more free time at your disposal. Maybe you need to sit in a spa once a day, take regular bubble baths, write in a journal, or take a yoga class. You don’t even have to spend money in order to get your mind and body in a more relaxed state. Do what makes you happy and puts your mind at ease. (See also: Treat Yourself With These 7 Free Self-Care Routines)
7. Practice meditation
By teaching yourself how and where to focus your attention, you learn how to decide what is and is not important to you. Even if you haven’t done this before, it’s a skill that can take you far. Spending a few minutes each day just breathing in and out can reduce your stress and center your mind. (See also: 6 Meditation Alternatives for People With Busy Minds)