Prescription for a
Happy Retirement

James D. Bash, DO, MPH

About the Book


Has retirement failed to bring the joy you expected?


If so, you’re not alone. Approximately 10,000 baby boomers retire daily, and most have trouble adjusting to retirement because they were unprepared for the loss of identity and purpose their job offered. Once retired, they may feel unfulfilled and suffer from PMS (Post-Work Melancholy Syndrome).


Dr. James Bash understands this situation. After retiring, he felt disappointed and drained. He scoured the current literature for a cure, but found nothing that would fully revitalize him. He decided to write his own book and began exploring what makes retirement satisfying—why for some these are the fabled golden years. Now he shares what he learned through his research, personal experience, and the advice of his many retired patients.


In Prescription for a Happy Retirement, Dr. Bash teaches readers how to:


  • Analyze the causes of their Post-Work Melancholy Syndrome
  • Plan for retirement if they’re still working
  • Understand the difference between what they want and what they need in retirement
  • Increase their self-esteem by building an identity independent of their work persona
  • Create a new social life, routines, and sense of meaning for their days
  • Engage in lifelong activities and learning
  • Care for themselves physically so retirement is long-lasting and enjoyable


When you retire, it can feel like your spark has been extinguished, which can lead to sadness. With Dr. Bash’s prescription, you’ll reignite your spark and help light up the world.


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Retirement Planning Beyond the 401K


Retirement is a time when you can finally live the life you were destined to live. You can design your ideal life and then put it into practice. At the same time, I’ve seen a lot of people who have not adjusted well. It’s up to you to make the retirement years the best years ever. That’s what this book is intended to help you do.


Oddly, most books on retirement don’t address ways of dealing with this very important time. The majority focus on retirement’s financial aspects. Many are written by people who may be decades away from retiring. Certainly, money is important, but money is only part of it. It’s much better to learn about retirement and its potential pitfalls from someone who has lived it and continues to live it.


This book comes from the heart. It’s based on my personal experiences and many years of study. While practicing medicine, I saw people who aged well and went through many of life’s transitions with ease. I also saw plenty of the opposite—people unprepared for the big changes. They had no idea what to expect or how to prepare for changes. Many had no guidance or access to resources to help with the process.


It is my intention to help others plan for and manage retirement from a human standpoint. You'll need to be financially prepared, but you also need to be mentally prepared. I think this book is uniquely qualified to help with that planning and help you enjoy your golden years.


I hope you enjoy Prescription for a Happy Retirement, and learn how to flourish, not flounder, in retirement.


Are You Ready to Retire?


Baby boomers are retiring in unprecedented numbers. Your own retirement may be just over the horizon, but you probably haven’t given it  much thought, other than the financial aspects, of course.


Or maybe your retirement is a long way off, or you figure it will be an easy and natural adjustment — after all, we all eventually retire, right? How hard can it be? No more bosses, no more getting up and rushing out the door, just fishing, quilting or mountain biking whenever you feel like it.


But for many, most maybe, retirement sneaks up and hits you with a major and often unsettling life change. Most people underestimate what this change can do to self-esteem, motivation, relationships — everything from your reason for getting out of bed to how you sleep at night will need to be reexamined.


Dr. Bash does just that, providing helpful tips for a smooth transition into an awesome retirement.


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Prescription for a Happy Retirement
will Help You


  • Beat Post-Work Melancholy Syndrome
  • Plan an Awesome Retirement
  • Distinguish Wants from Needs
  • Build Self-esteem Through Independence
  • Create a New Life
  • Engage, Play, Learn, Enjoy
  • Keep Active, Keep Fit, Live Long, Live Well

Get Outside, Get Healthy


Numerous reasons exist for getting outside and being with nature. The most important reason is that it is healthy and relaxing. You can put your troubles behind you and just observe what is happening around you. Watching the birds and other animals can be healing. Being by a stream or other body of water can be tranquilizing. Getting out in nature can also provide a welcome break from technology, provided you turn it off or, better yet, leave it behind.


If you live in the country, it is easy to find places to go to be with nature. In the city, it may be harder, but there are parks and nature walks in most municipalities. If you have a dog, both of you could get some exercise and have fun too. The fresh air and sun energizes us. We also sleep better at night after we have been outdoors, and going outside can improve your mood. It’s a good idea to incorporate some form of outdoor exercise into your schedule before you retire. With time, outdoor exercise can become an important part of your lifestyle.


Start by taking walks or gardening—anything to get outside. You don’t have to spend hours in direct sunlight, which can be harmful without sun protection, but just being outdoors on a sunny day can boost your spirits and increase your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is important for normal bone development, and low levels in the body have been linked to depression.


If you live in the country, start hiking, kayaking, biking or gardening. Observing birds and other wildlife is much better than reality TV. If you live in the city, go to parks or find walking areas close to where you live. Consider joining a nature or outdoors club. Whatever gets you outside is fine because it’s important for good mental health.

About the Author


James Bash is a retired family medicine and geriatrics physician. He has a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) degree in occupational medicine, a Certificate in Financial Planning, and a Retirement Coaching Certificate.


Jim resides in Upper Michigan with his wife and daughter.

Contact Jim

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Prescription for a Happy Retirement © 2017 James D. Bash


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