It’s odd that someone who chooses retirement then becomes depressed. If this describes you, here’s how to regain your zest for life.
For people who haven’t yet retired from the workforce, but are anticipating depression, you may want to ask yourself why you want to retire in the first place — assuming that you don’t have any medical conditions that make full-time work difficult or painful.
But let’s suppose you’re already retired — and it’s not the joyful experience that you had anticipated.
There are many ways to reduce feelings of bleakness — natural ways, that is.
One way, according to a very interesting study, is online computer time.
Now this doesn’t mean videogames.
It means a productive use of the Internet.
A study in the online The Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences says that online computer time can alleviate depression in retirees.
In the study sample, the researchers noted that use of the Internet lowered the probability of depression by 33 percent.
The reason more Internet use may combat depression in retirement is because it opposes the feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Depression, Isolation and Loneliness in Retirement
“Depression after retirement is fairly common, and a large part of that is because of the inherent role change and struggling to find meaning,” says Patricia Celan, MD, a senior psychiatry resident at Dalhousie University in Canada.
“Many people feel that their career is a big source of purpose in their life, yet working can also be exhausting and become more difficult as they get older.
“In some careers, retiring at a certain age is even an expectation, and people may feel pressured to retire earlier than they would like to do.
“So unfortunately, whether due to physical necessity or social pressures, most people retire even without a new routine in place that may provide a sense of purpose.
“The key is to plan a more gradual retirement!
“Gradually reduce your work hours [if possible] while increasing your focus on hobbies, community involvement or other sources of life satisfaction.
“Rather than allow retirement to be an abrupt loss while languishing meaninglessly with no routine, strive to make your retirement feel like the blissful vacation you’ve earned after years of work, where you have planned ahead to do the enjoyable things you haven’t had time to do while working hard.”
Get Into Exercise
If you can walk into a gym, then you’re game for workouts.
Many gyms and recreation centers offer classes for seniors.
Plus, older people can join ANY class they feel up to.
And needless to say, most gyms have a huge variety of strength training equipment and plenty of cardio machines.
Additional Retirement Activities
Another activity that retired people can do is read story books to children sick in hospitals.
Plant flower gardens at foster homes.
Take dogs at animal shelters for walks.
When I retired at 53, I had a bucket list. It included listening to all the symphonies of classical composers.
I created an enormous list of composers including a ton I’d never even heard of, then began listening to all of their symphonies on YouTube.
The project took about a year to complete, and in the process, I discovered Shostakovich! I never knew such beautiful, spellbinding symphonies could exit!
You, too, might discover a goldmine by listening to the music you never had time to prior to retirement.
Another project of mine is to hit up all the online homemade chocolate chip cookie retailers.
So far, La La’s Gourmet Cookies and Monica’s Gourmet Cookies head the list for chocolate chip!
And Levain Bakery is tops for triple chocolate chip!
Retirement doesn’t have to be depressing; it can be wildly exciting!
What are you passionate about? Then get out there and do something with this passion.
Dr. Celan is a post-graduate trainee in psychiatry, working in diagnosing and treating patients with psychiatric conditions. She is passionate about psychotherapy, especially in trauma, anxiety and depression.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.