Retirement is something we all look forward to. However, for some, the idea of retiring brings in a sense of doom and has a finality to it. Individuals who have taken immense pleasure in doing their jobs, often find themselves lost after retirement. They feel less empowered and helpless, for not having anything to keep themselves busy. True, they can do other things to keep themselves occupied, however, once depression sets in, it becomes quite difficult to show any interest in performing daily activities. These people realize that they were good at their jobs, they were efficient and were appreciated. They are also aware of the flip side to their situation, wherein they find themselves expended, simply because they completed the tenure of their service.
What can one do, when faced with such odds? The answer may sound seemingly simple, but is in actuality, very difficult to accept and imbibe. The honest truth is that, once you have retired, you must accept it gracefully and be grateful for the opportunities you received for proving your caliber. It can be harder on those individuals who spent a majority of their lives working, and ended up neglecting interpersonal relationships at home and with other family members and friends. Such people find themselves lost and lonely, because they fear it's too late to make amends or rekindle fond relationships.
Signs of Depression During Retirement
Before we discuss how to cope with this situation, let's discuss some of the common signs of depression, and how you can help yourself or someone you care about, to deal with this transitional phase.
How to Prevent Depression After Retirement
Take It as a New Beginning
- Look out for signs such as, getting agitated, angry, or irritated for no reason or for trivial issues. Sometimes, depression can cause the individual to snap at an unsuspecting member of the family or friend, or even at a complete stranger!
- Being aloof, pessimistic, or melancholic, not interacting with members of the house. These individuals will seem like they have lost all hope in their lives and have nothing to look forward to.
- Staying hidden in a private room, all alone, without wanting to be disturbed or interrupted by anyone.
- Complaining about small issues, without any due cause.
- Not interested in eating or overeating.
- Being restless and wanting to do something productive. This can be executed in two ways - first being, that the individual seems restless and thus does a lot of work around the house. Doing more work than he or she ought to, feeling severe exhaustion and fatigue, which could make them fall ill. Or that the individual is restless and still does not wish to do anything, and just wishes to be left alone.
- Guilt is an essential ingredient of depression, and is often very difficult to identify, unless mentioned in clear verbal means. Retirement can make people feel guilty of not having been able to accomplish as much as they would like to have, or that they spent too much time at work, and thus could not give time to their personal lives. Thus believing that, it's too late to make amends and the individual must learn to accept the loneliness.
- People who remain upset and gloomy for prolonged periods, find it hard to concentrate for too long, and have difficulty remembering things. They often forget little details, such as doing the laundry, getting the groceries from the market, or remembering to pay the help or the bills.
- In extreme cases, some people may feel like ending their own lives out of sheer misery and despair.
You will need to sit down and really understand the fact that, even though you may have retired, the rest of your life is still ahead of you. You still have a lot of things to do, and dreams to accomplish. Once you accept this fact, you will be able to lead a better life, if not a normal one. Think of it as a new beginning, with newer opportunities and experiences.
Think of All the Fun You Can Have!
You always wondered how life after retirement could be. Well now that you have finally arrived, it's time to stop thinking and to act upon all your desires. Think of all the things you can do with your free time, such as traveling to places you have always wished to visit. You and your loved ones can go on a long vacation, and set sail on a yacht or enjoy the cool air of the mountains. The possibilities are limitless and exhilarating. So why not beat off the blues, by taking life by the hand and enjoying it.
Join a Community
Join any form of community you wish; be it church, a golf club, or a hobby club, where you can have the chance to meet new people, make new friends, and share your experiences. It is very important that you learn to talk about your problems. Once you open up, you will realize that you are not alone, and that there are others who are facing similar problems in their own lives as well.
Try to help family members or friends, in doing the chores. If you have always enjoyed a hobby, now is the time to pick it up again and practice it, without a worry in the world! Don't let your life pass you by, and instead make the best of every moment. You may plan a weekly schedule for yourself, wherein you can plan the things you'll be doing for each day of the week. Give ample time for yourself, so that you can enjoy a nap, a movie, a play, a book, or anything that catches your fancy. You are a free bird, who no longer needs to live life by the clock, meet deadlines, professional obligations, or follow a code of professional conduct.
Make Time for Family
All these years your family has been sidelined because of yours or their work hours, and keeping up with schedule. Now is the perfect opportunity to spend as much time with them as they can offer you. If your family is busy with their work lives, and don't have much time for you, then you must be considerate about this fact. All you need to do is find innovative and fulfilling ways to keep yourself busy, so that you do not feel bored or lonely. Do the nice, thoughtful things, that you always wanted to do for your family. Spend time talking about sweet nothings with your spouse, and get to know your siblings better. Catch up with your children and their lives. Take a keen interest and participate in matters which are important to your near and dear ones. With your experience and age, you can be a great mentor and guide to the youngsters, in your family and your community.
If you're still depressed, it is completely all right if you wish to speak to a trusted few about how you feel. There is no shame in talking about your problems to a professional. Hopefully, this article has been informative, and will help you in your journey through this phase of life.