Staying social as you age is very important! A great social life has many mental and physical health benefits for you when you retire. Social isolation and feelings of loneliness have been linked to a risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and cognitive decline. People whose friends and family surround them live longer and have a happier retirement.
In a research study by Andrew Sommerlad, Ph.D., he studied 10,000 60-year old’s who visited with friends almost daily and found they were less likely to develop dementia by 12%. A great social life is a happier and healthier life! Keep reading for five reasons to increase your social life when you retire.
- Provides you with a sense of belonging
Having a great social life can provide you with a strong sense of belonging. Nobody wants to feel left out. It is human nature that we want to be surrounded by other people. You rely on other people on a day-to-day basis, whether you realize it or not.
Spending time with your closest friends and family helps you to build a support system. They bring a sense of purpose to your weeks and give you something to look forward to. Whether it be meeting up with a sibling for brunch once a week, taking an exercise class with a friend, or visiting your grandchildren and spending time with them. Moments with your loved ones are the most memorable moments in life.
- Increased longevity for you
Multiple studies have shown that people who have a thriving social life have a longer and happier life. Having a support group to talk through the trials of life with and support you is very encouraging. Knowing you’ll have friends and/or family to meet up with each week is something for you to look forward to. Being around people will encourage you to be more active and not just sit around your home all day by yourself.
- Mental health
Human beings are social beings by nature. That’s why when our social life is subpar, our mental health begins to decrease. Individuals who live longer are those who have productive activities going on and people to visit weekly. Productive activities keep you busy, keep your mind going, and keep you from getting depressed and lonely.
Your mental health will change after retirement. It can be a big shock after working a 9-5 Monday through Friday job to so much off time. It may be nice at first to enjoy your time off, but it can begin to affect you after a while. Make sure you plan to get out of the house and meet with friends and family during this transition.
- A boost to your physical health
There are many studies linked to the fact that social relationships benefit your physical health. A survey by House, Landis, and Umberson in 1988 shows that people with low levels of social engagement are more likely to die than those with high levels of social engagement.
A recent review article showed that low social ties are linked to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Hanging out with good friends and family is like medicine to your soul. The reason being is related to psychosocial and physiological explanations. The quality of your relationships, reduction of stress, and a sense of purpose that good relationships give you are like no other.
- Better sleeping habits
The best sleeping habits are associated with good relationships. Think about those days you spend with a friend all day, and you come back home and have a great night’s rest. Having a good social life will keep you on your feet and using your energy in the best way to socialize!
Overall, increasing your social life during retirement has many benefits! The most prominent being how a fantastic social life increases your longevity and improves your physical and mental health. If those aren’t enough reasons for you, some benefits include better sleeping habits and a sense of belonging. Remember that with a great social life comes with quality people, not the quantity of people. Now get out there and get socializing!