My Intellectual Health

Key Concept

We have looked at Mental Health – more particularly, at some of the conditions that can bring one down – depression and Alzheimer’s. Your Intellectual Health looks at the things we can do to keep life exciting and ourselves interesting.


To identify interests and activities that you may have put on the back-burner while you were hard at work on your career


There are different reasons to travel – just sightseeing can get tedious and lonely – and expensive!

  • To visit friends and family.
  • To get to know your own country as well as going overseas.
  • To attend courses, workshops, pilgrimages and other educational activities.
  • To volunteer - Smile / Red Cross / Habitat for Humanity / Teaching. All offer opportunities for travel. If you have specialist skills, all the better but dedicated “worker bees” are essential for these organisations to run effectively.
  • Depending on your preferences you might want to  travel with others of a similar age – the benefits are that you have people to share your experiences and you’ll enjoy any discounts and specials aimed at seniors.
  • Consider different ways of travelling. Packaged tours are great because you get to see the sights, but planning your own itinerary and free-wheeling are a whole different kind of experience.
  • Adventure travel – put a buzz back into your life. Slack-packing is a great way to enjoy hiking without having to lug a heavy Backpack. Flash-packing is an upgrade on Backpacking where you can stay overnight in Guest Houses, B & Bs and Hotels rather than Hostels – but the experience is similar in that there is a high degree of interaction with locals . Sleeping on the ground in the cold and wet ain't as much fun as when you were 20.
  • A really good way to travel is to use AirBnB where you can rent a local’s room or whole home for a day, a week or a month. And you can choose the degree of contact you have with the Host.

This site is a “must read”!

  • Rick Steve's Travel Tips  Make sure you read all the different sections on this site – it is a wealth of valuable advice and will make wherever you travel that much easier and pleasant.

Go to My Intellectual Health and complete the section on Travel.


Probably the first time you were in College or at University you were fixated on getting through exams and weren't really all that concerned about the learning. Now is your chance to study subjects that really interest you.

  • Go back to university / college / art school to do that course you've wanted to do all your life
  • The University of the 3rd Age   caters specifically for retirees, and there are many adult education, winter and summer school programmes at Universities and Colleges. Most Universities now have online learning programmes.
  • There are many Personal growth and development / spiritual growth programmes available. Our 3rd Age is a great time to explore the more Metaphysical, Spiritual aspects of life.
  • Learning a new language is real “brain food”. Holding and remembering new words, rules and pronunciations really gets the juices flowing – not to mention a whole world of different people to get to know.
  • Learn new Crafts and Hobbies. (With them come opportunities to earn extra money).

Go to My Intellectual Health and complete the section on Education.



"The purpose of life is to serve others." Einstein

Or in the words of Bob Dylan  "You gotta serve somebody"

Volunteering is not just about “pitching up” – it requires commitment, persistence and learning to do new things. And like any job there is a learning period that you have to go through and someone is going to have to teach you “how things are done around here”. So don't be surprised if the person you are assigned to isn’t wildly excited about having to look after you as well as all the other stuff they have to do. gives you some tips on how to volunteer – in your Community and Overseas.

Volunteering is a good way to gain some experience in something you’ve not done before. (In volunteering you will also quickly see opportunities that could be paid in the future – if you need that extra income). It also gives you an opportunity to try things out – something that looks exciting and challenging could turn out to be a real drag – and you don't want to be doing that in your retirement.

  • Community nursing of kids and the elderly
  • Mentoring of kids. Helping boys and girls to make the transition into adulthood
  • Mentoring young entrepreneurs. Helping them set up and stabilise their businesses.
  • Child care and teaching in communities where Teacher / Pupil ratios are impossibly high.
  • Sport coaching.
  • Get involved with an NGO – provide management expertise.
  • Organisations like Smile, Greenpeace, Doctors without Borders, Disaster Relief, National Sea Rescue, Mountain Rescue all need Volunteers – at the front-line but also in back-up and support functions.
  • Join the Governing Body of a local deprived school. Particularly if you had a managerial position in your career, imagine the impact you could have on the efficient functioning of that school and the quality of education received by 1000s of kids.

Look for opportunities to volunteer where there are enthusiastic young people – they’ll keep you on your toes and you can help them keep their feet on the ground.

Go to My Intellectual Health and complete the section on Volunteering.

Creativity / Activity

With lots of hobbies retirement is easier – start new ones, become expert in existing ones

  • With time on your hands, consider things like speciality wood and metal work where the focus is on what you put into it rather than what you try to get out of it.
  • Take up art, music, singing, dancing, poetry reading.
  • “Artisan” crafts are becoming very popular – make your own bread, cheese, beer, wine, olives and any other delicious eating things.
  • Create a discussion group – invite experts in different fields to share their knowledge.
  • Keep abreast of technology.
  • Google TED Talks – the range of subjects covered is astounding.
  • Make a list of books to read. There will be many you’ve promised yourself to read.
  • Write your own book. Consider that the Elders have always carried the stories of their community and consider that the world you grew up in is completely different to the one you now live in. Someone is going to be very interested in the life you led - even if it's only your grand-children!
  • Get on Facebook / create a blog / join a chat room. Join our Retirement Discussion Forum - a place where other retired people can discuss the challenges and the victories they are experiencing.
  • Gaming (not the gambling type) is huge. There are interactive games, played internationally that will keep the grey matter soft and pliable.
  • Activities must include some physical ones – a hiking / walking group, swimming club, 4x4 rallies, canoeing, sailing, cycling. You don’t have to be Rambo but you don’t want to be Elmo Simpson either.
  • The benefits of Yoga are enormous – maintaining flexibility is critical to a fulfilling retirement.
  • Begin or maintain some form of spiritual practice - meditation, prayer, chanting,

Go to My Intellectual Health and complete the section on Creativity and Activity.

Discussion Assignment – My Intellectual Health

All the ideas covered in this module require effort.  Some or many may sound really good, but starting something new doesn’t just happen. So follow Matt Cutts’ example and try something for 30 days.

Either you will start a new activity or you’ll find out that it’s not for you – a good outcome either way!

What I have always wanted to do, but haven't got around to doing is ...

Discussion Forum

Next module : Old Age and Frailty

Even though we are healthier than ever before – these are “old age” years and eventually we will become frail – so how do we deal with that? This module provides a guiding hand to support you as you enter old age (whenever that may be) and you start to become frail.

Next Module