If you thought you were the only one feeling the post-retirement blues, you are definitely in the wrong. You'd be surprised by the number of people dealing with depression after retirement. As to why one would find themselves feeling depressed, well, the reasons can vary. However, the majority of retirees report having no longer a purpose and a goal in life as the culprit for such an emotional state. Ridding yourself of built-up negativity isn't easy but is, nevertheless, possible. With the advice we've prepared, you should be able to start enjoying your newly found freedom in no time!
The Symptoms That Suggest You are Dealing with Depression After Retirement
Feeling sad every now and then is nothing to worry about, considering how sadness is a normal human emotion that cannot be avoided. However, experiencing such a feeling constantly without a particular reason could be a cause for alarm. It could, unfortunately, suggest you are struggling with depression - a mental illness accompanied by a pool of symptoms, the most common ones, among sadness, being:
- Complete disinterest in everything (even the things you used to enjoy)
- Poor or no appetite
- Sleeping too much
- Agitation and irritability
- Being unable to focus
- Lack of energy
- Anxiousness and stress
- Feeling worthless
- Suicidal thoughts
- Actual physical pain that can't be otherwise medically explained
Issues of mental nature, including depression, could have serious consequences. They are not to be taken for granted and must be dealt with as soon as possible. In case you recognize one of the above symptoms as your own, pay close attention to them. If they are mild, you'll most likely be able to resolve them on your own.
Coping with Post-retirement Depression
Now that you know how to recognize signs of depression, it's time to discuss coping with it. The advice presented in this article should help you deal with the issue on your own terms.
Find Yourself a Purpose
We've already mentioned lack of purpose as one of the main reasons behind feeling blue. Having no longer a goal in life, many seniors begin thinking they have absolutely no reason to live, which, of course, isn't true! All it takes to feel like yourself again is to find something to look forward to. It could be as simple as finally having the ability to see your grandkids any time you wish. Picking up a hobby could also help you get over the negative emotions and become your number one reason to wake up in the morning.
Change the Scenery
Perhaps it's the community you're living in that's making you anxious. If you believe you no longer belong in your city or even state, how about you change it? A fresh start somewhere else will benefit your psyche and get you appreciating life all over again. Naturally, relocating as a senior isn't simple, but with the right people beside you, anything's possible. Take your search to the Internet to find the best moving company out there to help you relocate across the country. While the journey itself won't be easy, once it's over, you'll be happy you've taken the leap. Even more so if it gets you closer to your family.
Develop a Routine
Many of us are accustomed to a routine. We know exactly what we'll be doing from the moment we get out of bed to the moment we slip back into it at night. Recently retired seniors are experiencing a sudden disruption of routine, leading to the whole ''not having a purpose'' attitude.
Those dealing with depression after retirement can successfully combat it by creating a schedule for themselves all over again. Pick up a planner and make it your business to plan your entire day. For example, the morning hours could be reserved for having coffee with your friends. In the afternoon, a visit to the library could be a smart idea, and the evenings could be the time of day when you rest curled up at home, watching movies or reading. Truthfully, the sky is your limit as to what you could do.
What's the point of having to work right when you thought you were done with it for good? While it might seem counterintuitive, going back to work does help many retirees feel better. It gives them a purpose, makes them feel useful, puts them on schedule, and provides some human interaction many of them crave. Of course, hard physical work is not something for you to do these days. Doing something you enjoy, on the other hand, could prove highly beneficial.
Engage in Physical Activity
Just because you are getting older doesn't mean you can't partake in physical activity. Sure, you aren't in the best shape you've even been, but you are still (hopefully) capable of getting up and moving. Again, strenuous exercises aren't recommended, but light-to-moderate activities could be what you need to get ahead of the depression. Go on prolonged walks, take up gardening, or enroll in a yoga class, if you will. Not only will your body thank you for it, but so will your mind.
Get Yourself a Dog
If you've tried everything but can't seem to be experiencing a change for the better, perhaps, getting a dog could be the answer to your problems! Canines are notoriously good at improving one's mood, and that's a fact! Rather than buying one, however, adopt it from a shelter. You will help save a life and thus make yourself feel better. Caring for a dog will give you a sense of responsibility and provide an excuse to get out of the house every so often. Not to mention the loyal friend you'll be gaining in the process!
It's not uncommon for seniors to be dealing with depression after retirement. Learning how to combat it is essential, especially since feeling blue for prolonged periods could lead to serious consequences. Mild depression isn't as tough to fight off. All it takes is a willingness to change and do something about it. Those with severe cases, however, are best seeking professional help.