Former late night talk show host, David Letterman recently made a speech where he joked that retirement affects your self-esteem. While he was trying being funny, as they say, "all comedy is rooted in truth."

A study in the U.S. by the Harvard School of Public Health and one in the U.K. by the Institute of Economic Affairs shows retiring can be bad for your health. Both studies showed an increase in health problems immediately following retirement, including heart attacks, strokes, and depression. While you may assume age is the factor driving those conditions, it turns out it's more likely due to the drastic changes someone experiences upon retirement. Specifically, the things they lose from their daily activities.

There's More To Work Than Working

While your job may be busy, stressful, and challenging, studies prove work provides you with four things needed to feel satisfied and engaged, which are also necessary for mental and physical well being. When you lose these four things from your daily routine due to retirement, it can be difficult to fill the void. What are they?

Play - Laughing and joking with co-workers. Teaming up on projects. Taking breaks together. Attending company events. These are all grown-up versions of play.

Creativity - Brainstorming, problem-solving, and being resourceful are forms of workplace creativity.

Socializing - Communicating and collaborating with your peers provides constant social interaction.

Learning - Opportunities to build skills and enhance your expertise in your field ore industry allow you to learn and grow.

Based on these findings, your job is more than a paycheck. It offers health benefits too. Which means, you may want to consider working past your normal retirement age.

Still Want To Retire Early?

The studies advise you to transition as opposed to quitting cold-turkey. Preparing and planning for these changes can help you find ways to ensure play, creativity, socializing, and learning stay a part of you life after retirement. For example, identifying a hobby career could ensure you maintain all the benefits of working without the stress of full-time employment. The key is to be proactive so you can minimize the impact retiring has on your health and wellness.