Use the five ways to wellbeing to plan a mentally healthy retirement

11 November 2016

Planning for a Mentally Healthy Retirement is a SuperFriend seminar that can be hosted by Superannuation Funds and employers, to provide strategies for promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the transition to retirement.

When it comes to retirement planning employers have traditionally assisted people with financial aspects. However, as awareness of the importance of employees’ psychological wellbeing at work has increased, so too has the knowledge that there is more to a successful retirement than money.

A mentally healthy retirement takes some planning, and one tool for guiding people through this is the internationally recognised five ways to wellbeing: connection with others, mindfulness, being active, giving back and continuing to learn.

Connection with others

Researchers at the University of Queensland have found that 30 per cent of retired people fail to adjust successfully[1], with suggestions that this can be eased through greater social connection.

The workplace provides employees with many mental health benefits, including social connection. Helping people to become aware of these needs, and consider how they will be met during retirement, can help decrease the risk of loneliness and isolation in this next stage of life.



When people are able to tune in to themselves and others, they can experience a range of improvements to their wellbeing. There are reputable wellbeing programs that can help people learn these mindfulness skills while still in the workplace.


Being active

Recent research from The University of Sydney found that retirement can be positive for health, particularly when it involves becoming more active, sleeping better and reducing sitting time[2].

Encouraging employees to be active can help to create healthy habits and set the tone for the transition between work and retirement.


Giving back

Research published by the World Health Organisation indicates that 68 per cent of volunteers report feeling physically healthier due to their altruism, while 96 per cent say it makes them happier[3].

These benefits can be harnessed with employees who are still employed or transitioning to retirement, through corporate volunteering programs.


Continuing to learn

Humans are driven to learn and increase their knowledge, and this can be harnessed throughout retirement. Undertaking retirement education – such as SuperFriend’s Planning for a Mentally Healthy Retirement program – can help to instil this aspect of wellbeing into a fulfilling retirement.