Depression in retirement involves lifestyle choices.
We can choose to remain indoors, watching mindless tv, or we can rise above depression as I believe Peter has done... and change our minds on what retirement means.
Retirement is what you want it to be... simple or challenging, whatever works for you!
Retirement depression, once it gets you in it's grip, could be more difficult to lose if you are "stuck" in your retirement rut...
Think twice, keep busy from the start, and avoid any depression as there is so much more to look forward to in life!
You can find oodles of retirement anxiety and depression stories at the bottom of the page.
By Peter J., Canada
It is always good to provide a background as that serves as an indicator from where we come from; so here goes. I am 61 years of age, married with two children. I have had Crohn’s Disease for 40 years and have worn an Ileostomy Appliance for 30 years. I was laid off from my work two years ago after 27 years but fortunately able to collect a reasonable pension. It has taken two years to recognize that I am retired. The first year I was still in “work mode”.
Our working career I don’t think ever leaves us. I was used to working with “deadlines” but now, as language is important for it shapes how we think, I have changed the meaning to “goals”.
For me an early retirement meant a reduction in my pension. Life has many lessons for us and this meant simplifying my life style through re-evaluation of my materialistic needs. This I have found to bring me back to enjoying the simple things in life for example to re-awaken my enjoyment of reading, the library is a great source to explore different books on a variety of subjects and a place to meet other retirees, to enjoy a good walk, either alone, I enjoy private time, or with others, with a thermos of tea to stop and rest without feeling rushed, to spend time volunteering especially to those who are less fortunate, pay back time for all the benefits and blessings we have received.
We need to form a community in our retirement of friends who are also retired; working people have a schedule that for us no longer dictates our lives, to participate in physical activities and also to meet for coffee or a meal for conversation. Also with technology there are chat lines that we can join that are focused on a particular interest.
I enjoy making a cup of tea and go on different chat lines to chat. I only have two chat lines for now that I go on that the participants share a particular interest. I have found that retirement means alternatives to ponder the answer to the question, “What do I want to do today?” Having said this I refer to what I said earlier about volunteer work for we do need to have commitments in our lives especially to family and friends and to those in need.
During my working career and raising a family, I did not make time, though I could have done, to explore my spirituality in my relationship with God. This has become more important for me in retirement. In exploring my spirituality a few years prior to my retirement I enrolled in correspondence theology courses graduating as an Associate in Theology. I did this to learn and test my faith. Upon graduation, I was then asked by our Parish Priest if I would develop and teach theology courses that would explore our relationship with God, I prefer the word “facilitate”, for Parishioners. This I did and continue to do so. It is rewarding in sharing my faith with others and learning from them.
The above brings me to comment that in our lives, and particularly I find in retirement, we must exercise our bodies and minds. The beautiful thing about retirement is that we can exercise our minds how we chose not what our employer expects for after all we have become our own employer.
Sometimes I think that retirement is like becoming a child once again though hopefully with a more mature outlook to explore new ways to enjoy life. We also need an adventure once in a while. For me it was purchasing a Motor Scooter 50cc enough for traveling around town and out to the country side and with a good book and thermos of tea to find places to stop, read, and watch nature. Searching different locations to ride I have developed a feeling for each location. This I use to discern where I want to ride on a particular day. I have also met some interesting people on my rides.
If all this sounds positive, and for the most part it is, there is also for me the retirement depression, associated with retirement, as we have to learn that what and who we are is no longer associated with what we do for work, upon reflection it should not have, but now more so what and who we are as a person.
Similar to most people, I would sometimes get depressed at work either due to stress or the negativity or “power trips” of some of my work colleagues but then the escape was there was work to be done. Retirement depression is different for it can linger.
I can say to myself, “I am feeling depressed today” and in recognizing this I have to discipline myself to do something positive whether it be what I have previously discussed or even the mundane for example house cleaning and laundry.
Life is a journey and in retirement, the journey become more pronounced for there are not the distractions of work and raising a family. If you are interested I would like to receive some of your thoughts and reflections on retirement.
Retirement Depression -- read more here.
Happiness in Retirement doesn't just happen. Keep busy to find happiness in every day life!