man-with-retirement-depression

It's no secret that retirement can be a difficult time.  

You're leaving behind your career, your social life, and everything you've known for years.

It's normal to feel a little down, but sometimes those feelings can turn into full-blown depression.

If you're struggling with these feelings, don't worry – you're not alone. In this article, we'll discuss the signs, symptoms and next steps.

What is retirement depression and who’s at risk?

Retirement can be a tough transition. For many people, retirement marks the end of a long and rewarding career.

It can be hard to adjust to a life without structure or routine, and it's not uncommon to feel a sense of loss or purposelessness. In addition, retirement can also lead to financial stressors and decreased social interaction.

People who are at risk for retirement depression cover the entire spectrum, from those who are about to retire to those who have recently retired, and those who have been unemployed for a long period of time.

Obviously, if you have a history of mental health issues, your chances of being affected may increase following a dramatic upheaval in your life. However, no one is immune from depression, with the condition affecting around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over.

Symptoms

Symptoms of retirement depression include:

It's also worth mentioning that retirement depression might not always present as "the blues" or a brief period of sadness. Indeed, it can sometimes present as a clinically severe set of symptoms; a real and serious condition that can have a major impact on your life.

Causes

After years of working hard and looking forward to the day when they can finally relax and enjoy life after employment, many retirees find that retirement doesn't quite live up to their expectations.

In fact, studies have shown that retirement can actually be a time of increased psychological distress, which might result in depression.

There are a number of factors that can contribute to this, including boredom, feelings of isolation, and a loss of purpose. Many retirees find that they miss the structure and routine of work, as well as the social interaction.

Others may be struggling to make ends meet on a fixed income, or worrying about their health. Whatever the cause, it's important to recognise these potential causes if you’re feeling overwhelmed or isolated.

How to Deal With Retirement Depression

The beauty of retirement is that you now have the time to do the things you love. Whether it's picking up a new hobby, travelling, or spending more time with family and friends, there are endless possibilities to remain active and social.

Below are some additional tips for dealing with retirement depression:

1. Ask for help

Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're experiencing symptoms of depression. There are many resources available to help you through this phase. Talk to your doctor, counsellor, or join a support group.

By openly communicating with loved ones, you can also create a support system to help you through this difficult time. Reach out to Silver Line for any information and advice you might need.

2. Exercise regularly

For many people, retirement can be a time of great stress and anxiety, taking a huge toll on emotional wellbeing. But there is one tried-and-true method for combating these negative feelings: exercise. 

Numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity can help to improve mood, reduce stress levels, and boost cognitive function. In fact, exercise is often prescribed as a treatment for depression, alongside therapy and medication. 

So if you're suffering from mild to moderate symptoms, get up and get moving. A small amount of physical exercise each day could make a world of difference.

3. Eat healthy foods

Many people find that retirement is a time when they finally have the opportunity to focus on their health - a core component of this is diet, with evidence suggesting there's an important link between what we eat and our mental health.

As you start to age, it's important to pay attention to your food intake to ensure you're getting the nutrients you need. Eating clean can help improve your mood and supply the energy you need to stay active.

If you're feeling depressed, make sure to consume plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. And don't forget to stay hydrated!

To stick to your diet, try meal prepping or cooking in bulk ahead of time. This way you'll always have healthy meals on hand and you won't be tempted to reach for unhealthy snacks.

4. Get enough sleep

A good night's sleep is important for everyone, but it remains crucial as we age, with disturbed nights leading to a sharp decline in quality of life. Indeed, sleep problems have been linked to a range of health issues, including cognitive decline.

As we get older, our bodies become less efficient at repairing themselves, and this process is accelerated by insufficient rest. Therefore, aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.

Conclusion

Retirement depression is a real and serious problem, causing feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, and worthlessness.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to act. There are many resources available to support you through this difficult time and assist recovery.

Remember, it's never too late to make positive changes. So if you're feeling down, don't hesitate to reach out for help. With a little effort, you can start living a happy and fulfilling life after retirement.