Tackling Loneliness and Depression after Retirement

Douglas YoungUncategorized

As we age, we are all faced with new challenges. You may lack the energy, interest as well as enthusiasm for many of life’s ups and downs or may not be as physically fit and be able to participate in many events.  Many new retirees find getting used to retirement or being retired is an obstacle on its own – at least for a while, until new healthy routines are established.

Some new retirees find themselves faced with loneliness and depression of a whole new kind. Whether you retired from working at a small local company, a large multinational, running your own business, or a nonprofit, you were used to the routine of waking up early, going to bed early and looking forward to the weekend. Now you are likely to miss your routine and your colleagues. It is common for newly retired people to be bummed out and feel lost. What are some solutions?  Let’s take a look!

Remain socially active.

The current coronavirus crisis makes some of these things difficult now, but reaching out to old friends, family members, colleagues and making an effort to meet new people should always be on your list of things to look forward to when you retire. With more free time on your hands, staying social makes life more enjoyable and you can enjoy activities you never had time for when you were working. Technology can help us be socially active.  Social networking sites easily come to mind, and many people have enjoyed reconnecting with friends from as far back as childhood.  There are also video chat tools like Zoom and Facetime – and they have become much more popular recently because (obviously) of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Social support and positive social interaction play important roles when it comes to health.  Research has shown that it’s likely that too much isolation for too long can impair cognitive function, immune systems, and perhaps even lead to higher rates of heart disease.

Discover your hidden interests and talents.

It’s so important to enjoy your retirement by taking the time to discover your hidden talents as well as interests. If you like to cook, get out that favorite cookbook that has been collecting dust for years and begin a new culinary adventure.

Many retirees enjoy being able to devote more time their chosen hobby – or even dive into new hobbies.  Woodworking, amateur radio (also known as “ham radio), drawing, painting, making pottery, or learning to play a musical instrument are just a few examples of what retirees enjoy spending their time doing.  Remember, you’ll never know how much fun retirement can actually you make the effort to do what interests you.

If you love animals, pets are always a good idea.

Many individuals are fond of animals and what better time in life to give those little furry friends attention and care than now?  It’s been said that taking care of a pet is almost like taking care of a child.  That’s mostly an exaggeration, but the cleaning, washing, and feeding can be tiresome at times – but what an awesome way to keep yourself busy and active as well as far away from negative thoughts. Studies reveal that pets reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Even a pet as simple as a fish in a bowl or aquarium can be relaxing to the core.

Spend time in the outdoors and reflect upon the beauty of nature.

A mere change of scenery or view can be refreshing for both body and soul. A lot of us remember hearing our parents say “get some fresh air, it will do you some good!” – and that’s certainly true. In this COVID-19 pandemic, getting outside – while practicing social distancing – may be one of the best ways to get in some physical activity, especially since so many gyms are not open – or considered not quite safe yet for people over age 65.  Exercise is known to not only release feel-good endorphins but also benefit your physical and mental health too.

Science has revealed that those individuals that reflect upon nature’s finest offerings are known to experience fewer mood swings or depression when compared to those that don’t. Even a simple visit to the park is surely worth a try.

The power of a positive attitude.

They say you are the product of your thoughts. And too much time on our hands can contribute to feelings of loneliness and depression. Adopting a positive attitude will help improve your life and have a positive effect on those around you too.

It’s important to protect the elderly from the coronavirus, but it’s also important to try to look for ways to not let them – or ourselves – feel too isolated. When this crisis passes, let’s remember the benefits of being socially active.  Our retirement years can still bring us opportunities for joy – and like most good things in life, it often takes some effort to make the most of those opportunities.