The Path to a Happier, Healthier Retirement in Nature
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The Path to a Happier, Healthier Retirement in Nature

You don’t have to move to a cabin full-time; sometimes, a weekend retreat in nature is the perfect solution to help you enjoy the benefits of life in retirement.

Written by Sam Bowman
 Photo by Jodie Walton / Unsplash

Retirement represents a chance to scale back on busyness and make some time for yourself. You finally get to pursue your own interests and can take life at a pace that works for you. 

However, as a new retiree, you may struggle to adapt to life after work. This is entirely normal, as many people find it difficult to lead a healthy, happy life without the routine that a career can offer. 

Make the process that much easier by switching to cabin life. You don’t have to move to the forest or mountains full-time, either. Sometimes, a weekend retreat in nature is the perfect solution to help you enjoy the benefits of life in retirement. 


Mental Health

Spending time in the great outdoors can improve your mental health, combat stress and help you see the brighter side of life. This sentiment is echoed by the American Psychological Association (APA) and Lisa Nisbet, Ph.D., a psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who states, “Nature has benefits for both physical and psychological human well­being,” and that “You can boost your mood just by walking in nature.”  

The APA also lists mental health benefits of time in nature like: 

  • Improved cognitive function 
  • Enhanced memory and attentional control 
  • Lowered stress levels
  • Better social skills
  • Protection against depression and anxiety 

The key, according to the APA, is about feeling connected with nature. This suggests that retiring to a cabin is one of the best ways to reignite your connection with the natural world and surrounding wildlife. 

You don’t have to wait until full retirement to enjoy the benefits of cabin life, either. Many seniors bring their life with them when moving to the cabin and only choose to commute a few days per week. Alternatively, you can pursue retirement hobbies that generate extra cash and improve your mental health. If a side hustle sounds like fun to you, consider activities like: 

  • Beekeeping
  • Cooking
  • Home Brewing
  • Restoration 
  • Gardening
  • Crafting

These hobbies can generate plenty of extra income and will give you something to work on while at the cabin. Importantly, you won’t be stuck behind a desk while tending the bees or brewing your own beer. You’ll be out in nature or working in the yard where you can appreciate all the natural world has to offer. 


Improved Physical Health 

If you’re used to city life, you may find that moving to the cabin significantly boosts your mental health. As well as increasing your daily activity levels, you’ll likely benefit from improved air quality, too. Cities like L.A., Chicago and Houston are renowned for poor air quality which may exacerbate respiratory conditions like asthma. 

You also don’t have to start training for a marathon when moving to the cabin. Though trail running is a popular pastime amongst many rural residents, simple mindful exercises may be just what you need to start an exercise habit that lasts. Consider setting aside time for walks in nature and set time aside to reflect on the natural rhythms of your body when putting together a routine.  

If running and hiking aren’t your thing, consider bringing a static rower or bike to the cabin. Static rowers and bikes are perfect when the weather isn’t good enough to get out on the river or clip into your mountain bike. You’ll be able to build your fitness without distraction while at the cabin, which can be a rewarding process. When the weather improves, try to get out more often by getting in contact with local river guides or biking groups. 


Practical Considerations 

Retiring to the cabin can be a tranquil way to spend your senior years. However, before you sell your house and buy a cabin, there are some practical considerations that you should account for.  

Start by figuring out how you want to get to and from the cabin. Driving is easier in rural areas than in cities, but older drivers are at a heightened risk of accidents when behind the wheel. You are more likely to get injured if you are involved in a collision when driving to and from the town. Age-related conditions like arthritis may begin to undermine your ability to drive effectively, too. 

To get around this, consider looking for a cabin in an area with good public transport. This may sound like a misnomer at first, but many rural communities offer minibuses to people who still need to get into town. This can help you stay independent for longer and will ensure that you’re able to connect with the new community. 

Beyond transport, retiring to a cabin is a good fit for you if you have some DIY skills and don’t mind relative isolation. If you build your cabin yourself, you may even be able to cover your costs with Social Security payments as your living expenses should be reasonably low. 



Cabin life can be the perfect tonic after a busy, stressful career. Retiring to the cabin can help you discover new interests and hobbies like gardening, crafting and beekeeping, too. Just be sure to account for practicalities like limited transport and your financial needs. This will ensure you are able to make the most of the green tranquility that life in the wilderness has to offer. 


See Also: This Home is the Cure for Cabin Fever

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