If you’re trying to keep yourself young at heart, the worst possible thing you can do is stay at home all the time. Too many seniors make this mistake when they retire. It ages them prematurely and leads to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
This is not to say you should be out and about all the time like you were when you still worked. Far from it! It’s okay to slow down. There’s a wide spectrum of options between being gone most of the time like a full-time employee and sitting in front of the TV all day watching reruns.
How often should you aim to get out of the house? The best answers depend on your living situation -do you live alone? With a significant other? With extended family? How many days you should be out doing something varies based on your home situation.
Regardless of how many people you live with, the most common recommendation is to leave your house at least three days a week, and more if you live alone. This doesn’t mean you should be gone all day on those days -just leaving for an hour or more can be enough to help you physically and psychologically.
What you do when you leave your house also matters a good deal. Running errands, paying bills, seeing the doctor, and so forth are necessary parts of life, but they can’t be the only reasons you go somewhere!
You need to go places just for social interaction at least once or twice a week. It doesn’t matter what kind of social interaction you’re participating in; a book club meeting, a choir rehearsal, and a lunch with a friend will give you similar benefits. But you need to have regular social interactions and spend time with other people.
If you don’t have many social connections right now, it’s imperative that you make some. Your local community is bound to have groups or regular meetings for something that interests you. Look around, ask questions, call the senior center and/or the library, and make some connections.
Join a club, a church, or a gaming community. Start working with a nonprofit. You will find something that you like if you look hard enough.
Is it easy to keep up social connections and attend events as you get older? No, of course not. But it’s imperative that you try.