How to Avoid Depression in Retirement

Depressed Old Lady

In retirement, a person should try to reinvent oneself or risk withering away. In fact, a study by a UK think tank Institute for Economic Affairs found out that retirement increases the risk of suffering from depression by 40 percent and elevates the chances of suffering from a physical condition by 60 percent.

At retirement, you must take a hard, closer look at yourself to find out who you really are after years of working and deriving your identity from your work.

Have a Positive Attitude

Challenges and travails are part of life and no one is immune. How we react to them greatly determines how our lives will turn out. Depressed people tend to view challenges with negative lens, and hence worsen their condition.

Whenever you are faced with challenges, such as adjusting to life without having an alarm to wake you up, think positively by reminding yourself that this is time to rest and enjoy your life free from the daily 9-5 grind. Exercise, nurture your spiritual life and cultivate a habit of viewing problems as a call for action.

Don't lock yourself Inside

Being lonely can lead to depression, as most people aren't biologically hardwired to spend time alone for long. Don’t wait until you retire to make friends outside work. Start now and also make an effort to rebuild existing friendships.

If you have already retired, join professional associations and informal clubs where you can form new friendships with individuals who share similar interests with you. Volunteering in your local community can also be a great way to make new friends and give you new ideas on what to do with your now-plentiful free time.

Control your Expectations

Most people are conditioned to set high goals for themselves. This includes having a perfect family, a perfect career, perfect children or a perfect home. However, a word of caution here: Having high expectations is a sure recipe for depression. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set targets for yourself just before, or during retirement. It is hard enough to stay idle doing nothing, especially if you are married.

So before you retire, set realistic targets of where you want to be in the next few weeks or six months. Discuss them with your friend or partner, and acknowledge that there is a possibility that such targets may not be achieved. If you are achieve the goals, celebrate; and if you don’t, just shrug it off. In other words, learn how to manage your expectations as things at times may not work out the way you want them.

Arrange your Finances

One of the biggest factors that influence most people to postpone retirement is financial worries. Before you retire, make sure you put your finances in working order. Invest in various passive-income assets such as Treasuries, stocks, rental property and mutual funds.

Once you retire, analyze how much income those assets provide, draw up a budget, and stick to it. Earning passive income gives you the freedom to dabble in your hobbies, ensuring you live a meaningful retirement free from depression.

Photo by Herman Rhoids


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