What’s the key to a happy retirement? Financial planning is obviously an important factor; however, experts are saying psychological planning is a missing ingredient to successful retirement planning. In fact, according to one study, there is as much as a 40% chance that retirees will suffer from anxiety and depression after retirement. Fortunately, there are simple ways you can fight these symptoms. Below are tips we’ve found from experts that may help you.
We want to stress that it’s important to talk to your doctor first about any concerns you have regarding depression. If you are experiencing anxiety and depression after retirement that seems unbearable, please seek help.
A depression screening is 100% covered through Original Medicare. The screening must occur in a primary care setting (like a doctor’s office) that can provide follow-up treatment and/or referrals. Your doctor or other healthcare providers may recommend treatments that Medicare doesn’t cover, so, ask plenty of questions to understand what is being recommended and why.
To search for therapists that accept Medicare, use Medicare’s Physician Compare tool.
Reasons for Anxiety and Depression After Retirement
While some retirees can easily transition into retirement, others have a wave of emotions that accompany it. There are many factors that can contribute to an individual’s experience of anxiety and depression after retirement, but experts say one of the biggest contributors is the feeling of loss. But isn’t retirement supposed to be something gained for the fruits of your hard labor? Of course. But without the need to wake up and go to the office every day, you are losing two things you took for granted at your job: a social network and a defining job title.
Whether or not you experienced close friendships at your place of work, there were familiar social interactions, without which you can begin to feel quite lonely. Additionally, a job title you held for so long has suddenly been stripped away and you aren’t sure what to do with your time. This sudden lack of identity and purpose can be unraveling for many retirees, leading to anxiety, not the bliss you imagined. But the good news is there is something you can do about it starting today.
How to Beat Anxiety and Depression After Retirement
1) Be Social
Maintaining relationships in retirement is often a learning curve because it requires more intentionality. But research has shown that socially active retirees report greater happiness as well as improved longevity, and better overall health later in life. Consider using this time to deepen your existing connections or create new ones as a way of fighting off anxiety and depression after retirement.
2) Find Meaningful Work
According to the Psychologist Jacquelyn B. James, Ph.D., “people need to invest as much if not more time in their social or psychological portfolio planning before retirement, to figure out what makes them happy.” Many people are taking on new part-time jobs, pursuing self-employment, investing in hobbies, or finding meaningful volunteer opportunities to give them a sense of purpose after retiring. So, find what makes you happy and do more of it.
3) Stay Physically Active
A Merrill Lynch study of retirees found that good health was the most important component of a happy retirement. Whether it’s going on walks, lifting at the gym, or joining a group class, it’s clear that doing things to stay physically active play an important part of fighting off anxiety and depression after retirement.
Resources for Anxiety and Depression After Retirement
- If you are a reader, we’d highly recommend The Retiring Mind: How to Make the Psychological Transition to Retirement, by Robert Delamontagne, Ph.D.
- Silver Sneakers is a free gym membership that will get you all the benefits of being social, staying active and possibly finding some volunteer opportunities. If you aren’t yet taking advantage of this, consider trying it as part of your efforts to overcome your anxiety and depression.
If you would like an independent representative to review your current Medicare coverage to find out if you have the benefit of the Silver Sneakers program, please contact us today.