Dealing with Depression in Retirement
Retirement is supposed to be the time when you can finally live out your years in peace. So many people look forward to the joys of not having to work for a living that they often forget about the downside that it can bring. This is why dealing with depression in retirement is a task that seems to have no easy solution.
There may be many reasons why someone who has just retired or has been retired for a while may feel depressed. What should be ruled out first is a medical condition that may be causing the depression. This is why seeing your physician for a check-up and going over the symptoms you are feeling is a good start. By ruling out any medical concerns, the focus can be on why retirement has brought about such feelings.
Causes of Depression
Aging: The fear of getting older, less useful, and more dependent on others brings about feelings of depression. Especially when the lack of work only focuses the mind on such matters.
Work & Identity: Consider that so many people tie their identity to their job. It becomes a part of who they are to such an extent that they cannot imagine themselves not being at work. This is particularly true for those who work at what they truly enjoy and are talented at doing. Not having that anymore takes away from their identity.
Home Dynamics: People settle into routines and any changes disrupts such routines which may cause symptoms of depression. This is especially true for couples where one retires but the other is still working. With such roles changing at home, there may be the feeling of loss or confusion as to what to do with all that spare time.
Organize Your Day: Set goals for yourself and organize your time so you have a schedule to keep. Even if that schedule seems minor at the start, it provides a sense of purpose in getting things done. You can use the accomplishments as a springboard to do more work if you desire.
Live Your Dream: Most people have a dream that want to fulfill when they retire, so go ahead and live it out. From travelling the world to taking on new challenges to undergoing experiences that were not possible before because of the lack of time, this is your opportunity to live out your dreams.
Be Active: Look at your retirement as an opportunity to change what you are doing. Find a new routine, participate in events, and perhaps take a part-time job or start your own business. By being active, you can focus on new tasks which will take the place of the old ones.
Understanding the causes and knowing what to do will be the first steps in dealing with depression in retirement. For most people the feelings of being depressed will fade quickly once they have adjusted to this new place in their lives. That is why for those who may feel lost, not having a sense of purpose, or simply not knowing who they are that it should be seen not as an issue, but an opportunity for change.