Depression After Retiring: It Could Happen to You

By on January 28, 2021
Depression

Are you closing in on retirement age? Are you looking forward to the day when you no longer have to worry about going to work? Do you also have concerns about what your life will entail post-retirement? With the average retirement age hovering around 61, retirement may be just around the corner. Or perhaps you’ve already hung up your work boots. Most people don’t expect it to happen to them, but depression in retirement is common.

You think you’ll enjoy all the free time, but you come to find that it’s not what you thought it would be. Just the same as a postpartum depression treatment, which you may have experienced in your younger days, there are steps you can take and tips you can follow to alleviate your symptoms and enjoy the life you worked so hard to create.

Tips for Managing Depression in Retirement

There’s no right or wrong way to manage depression in retirement, but there are tips anyone can follow. 

  1. Set Short and Long-Term Goals

When you were working, you typically had a clear idea of what the future held (at least in regards to your career). But once you retire, this all goes out the window. If you don’t have short and long-term goals, you may feel that there’s nothing to work toward. These goals can be as simple or complex as you want. For example, you could set the goal of traveling to all 50 states. Or maybe you set a goal to walk around the block two times per day. 

There’s no shortage of goals to chase. You simply need to sit down, decide which ones are right for you, and create a plan of action. 

  1. Seek Out the Culprit

This is easier said than done, as you may not have any idea as to why you’re depressed—and there’s nothing wrong with that. Many people are in your shoes. However, if you do have an idea of what’s getting you down, consider the steps you can take to eliminate it from your life. A therapist or counselor may be able to help you pinpoint the cause of your depression, while also walking you through the steps you can take to remove it from your life. 

  1. Form a Support Group

You don’t have to form a support group—as many people would rather deal with health concerns on their own—but you should at least consider the benefits of doing so. Here are some of the reasons to look into this:

  • You’ll always have someone to talk to when you need it
  • You’re under no obligation to share anything with your support group 
  • They can provide you with feedback, guidance, and compassion 

And best yet, you have full control over who is and isn’t in your support group. This can include everyone from your friends and family to co-workers and a counselor. Start with one person, and if that works out, grow your support group. 

  1. Try New Things

It’s easy for your life to become mundane in retirement. It’s also easy to break free from this feeling. Don’t hesitate to try new things, as this gives you the opportunity to bring joy to your life that you may not have been expecting. For instance, if you’ve always wanted to learn how to ski, do it now. Or if you have big dreams of traveling the world, take your first trip as soon as possible.

Yes, it’s scary at times to try new things, but doing so will open your eyes to a world of opportunity. The only thing holding you back is you. Start small and go from there. You never know when you’ll find something that piques your interest and brings you joy. 

As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to combat depression in retirement. And of course, the tips above are only meant to get you started. There are other steps you can take, such as changing your diet, exercising more, and attending counseling and therapy sessions.

Do you have any advice for retirees who are struggling with depression? Have you gone through this yourself, eventually making it out the other side? What steps did you take to feel your best and live life to its fullest?

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Depression After Retiring: It Could Happen to You