As you near retirement, there are a lot of things on your mind. Do you have enough money to make it work? Where will your cash flow come from? How do you “land the plane” for your career? How will you spend your time?
But an oft-forgotten area of focus in all this planning is one’s own health. Most successful executives and business owners work tirelessly for their family, their business, their employees and their coworkers. Doing all this, it’s easy to neglect their own health and wellness, thinking of it as not necessarily urgent.
“When I finally retire and slow down, I can focus on that,” is a common refrain. Unfortunately, we all know stories of those who never reached that point. None of us know the number of our days, but waiting until retirement to focus on your health is not prudent planning.
I asked a friend, executive and wellness coach Diana Murphy (dianamurphycoaching.com), to provide me with a short list of recommendations that can help you prepare your health for a thriving retirement. Diana works with corporate leaders and business owners navigating this stressful time of responsibility and life transition. Here are a few ideas to get anyone started.
Start Small.Commit to small but effective changes. For example, if overworking is an issue, stop working at 6 p.m. at least two or three nights each week. Once the laptop is closed, get a workout in and eat a dinner that includes fresh food. Get restored!
Staying Fit Doesn’t Need to be Exhausting or Frustrating.Engage in activities you enjoy. Working out isn’t about burning calories; it’s about taking care of your body. And a good fitness routine is built on consistency. If you don’t like to run, don’t do it. But if you enjoy golf, for example, find a trainer that can help you improve and tune your body for that sport. The trainer will help you stretch and exercise your body to be a better golfer.
Only Eat if You Are Hungry. Many executives eat too much over a business lunch, in social situations or because of stress. They often operate in a high-energy environment, so it can be difficult to slow down. I teach them to "honor" their appetite by slowing down during a meal. Eat only when hungry -- not just because it's meal time -- and stop when you've had enough instead of cleaning your plate.
Once you are retired, it doesn’t instantly become easy to do all these. Diana shared with me this story.
“Just after he retired, one of my favorite clients hired me to help him stay fit. At first, he was frustrated because he had so much free time that wasn’t taken up by work. We had a blast creating a new schedule and routine to help him stay in shape and make this transition, including turning off his computer and television at night to help his body relax.”
Retirement is a transition that can create stress. By making planning for your physical health, as well as your financial health, before this transition, you’ll remove stress and be able to enjoy this stage of life all the more.