No matter how fulfilling their career, most people look forward to the day they can retire. Without having to work, they can spend more time doing the things they enjoy, seeing the people they love, and passing their days as they please.
It can be a shock to then realize that retirement isn’t always unconditionally happy. Some people dive enthusiastically into their retirement only to find that where they expected joy and ease, they are instead experiencing symptoms of depression. If that has happened to you, it’s important to know that you are not alone. These feelings aren’t “wrong” or even uncommon. Here are some of the reasons you may be experiencing depression after you retire:
Lack of Structure
Without the structure of a typical workday, you may feel overwhelmed by the blank slate of the day ahead of you. It may be tempting to spend the whole day doing absolutely nothing or there may be an urge to fill every moment with something productive. Neither extreme is ideal, caution experts at Harvard Medical School: “Doing either too little or too much can lead to the same symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, appetite loss, memory impairment, and insomnia.”
You don’t need to map out each and every day, but it may be helpful to have some basic elements in place. For example, you can establish a weekly tennis match with friends, or make a habit of going for a stroll after dinner. Maybe you decide that Wednesday mornings are the perfect time to call a relative, or that Sunday afternoons are great for sitting down with the newspaper and a coffee. Whatever it is, establishing some type of structure will give you something to look forward to, and a sense of accomplishment.
Sense of Self
Just as your employment gave structure to your days, it also contributed to your sense of self. Even if you worked to live, rather than lived to work, your employment was likely a defining part of your life. Many people take great pride in their roles, proudly introducing themselves along with their titles.
According to Nancy Schimelpfening, from the non-profit Depression Sanctuary, “The person’s sense of self is tied up very strongly in what he or she does for a living; and, with retirement, a sense of loss can occur, leaving a person struggling to understand who they are and what their value is.”
Remember – your worth is not determined by your job. Take a moment to remember what invigorates you, and what your values are. You can still tap into that sense of self by volunteering or contributing to a cause that is meaningful to you. A job is not the only way to define who you are.
Yet another factor that can contribute to depression in retirement is the change in your social life. When you were working, you likely had regular social interaction with coworkers, supervisors, clients, and/or vendors. And now, all of a sudden, that network is no longer a part of your day-to-day routine.
You may not have been especially close to these people, and some co-workers may have been far from your favorite people. Even so, regular social interaction is essential to our mental health: “Dozens of studies have shown that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems, and live longer,” according to Harvard Women’s Health Watch.
The takeaway? Keep those social connections strong! Reach out to a friend or colleague whenever you think of them. The benefits of maintaining your social life are well worth the effort.
Managing Depression in Retirement
Perhaps you’ve taken all the right steps already – you’ve added structure to your days, logged some volunteering hours, and regularly connect with loved ones – but you’re still feeling depressed. What now? Are antidepressants the necessary next step to relief?
You may be surprised to learn that there is a drug-free way to treat your depression. Alpha-Stim® is an FDA cleared medical device that is clinically proven by more than 100 clinical research studies to safely and effectively relieve depression in just minutes a day. Alpha-Stim uses a modality called cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES), delivering a tiny current of electricity through electrodes that clip onto your earlobes.
Treatments with Alpha-Stim are easy and painless and take just 20 minutes each day. The patented waveform restores balance to your brainwaves, making you feel better fast. Since Alpha-Stim is not a drug, it is safe to use in conjunction with other treatment modalities. There is no risk of addiction, withdrawal, or lasting side effects, making it an ideal treatment for aging adults. Better still, over time results with Alpha-Stim are cumulative. In other words, the more you use Alpha-Stim, the better you’ll feel, and the less you’ll need it!
Retirement should be one of the most enjoyable times in your life. Don’t let depression rain on your parade! Learn why so many patients are raving about their success with Alpha-Stim. If you’re not amazed within 30 days, you can return it. Financing options are available. Don’t wait another day to feel your best –