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Coping With Depression and Anxiety

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 21 Apr 2012 | comments*Discuss
Anxiety In Retirement Depression In

Most of us would want to look forward to our retirement as a time when we can forget about all of the pressures that our working lives forced us to endure and to simply ‘kick back’ and enjoy all of the additional time we have on our hands to do all the things which we really want to do. Whilst retirement does afford this opportunity for many of us, for some people it can lead to depression and anxiety.

Possible Reasons
There are several reasons why people can suffer from anxiety and depression when they retire. Some people may have not made adequate financial provisions for their retirement and may find the reduction of their overall income is causing them increased hardship in terms of meeting all of their financial commitments. Even those who are able to keep on top of their bills may find that there is little money left over with which to do much else and, therefore, their expectations that retirement would allow them to take up more hobbies, go on more frequent holidays etc., simply hasn’t worked out as they’d hoped.

Others will be the types of people who truly identified their own feelings of self-worth with their job above everything else and now that they have retired, they’ve felt a sense of loss of identity as a result.

Some may have other physical ailments or mobility problems which will have triggered depression or anxiety whilst others will have a morbid obsession with getting older and a fear that the majority of their lifespan is over and others may have lost their spouse. Whatever the reasons – it’s fair to say that anxiety and depression can ruin a person’s retirement if not tackled correctly.

Self-Help in Overcoming Anxiety and Depression
Although few people would question the existence of anxiety and depression as a genuine illness, it would be fair to say that, in many instances, it is our own attitudes to retirement and to our later years in general that will make the biggest contribution to staving off the debilitating effects caused by these two conditions.

A major reason depression results after retirement is a person’s own lack of self-motivation. It’s, therefore important, that even before you retire, you’ve spent some time planning your days and what you’re going to do with them. It may be joining a club, taking up a new hobby or something else but you need to ensure that you still have some kind of structure to your day and build in enjoyable pursuits which you’ll look forward to. Make sure that within your leisure time, you incorporate activities which allow you to socially interact with others. When you were working, no doubt you’ll have been communicating with others on a daily basis. Now you’re retired, you also need to make time for social interaction to stop you from being isolated and, what’s more, unlike at work, now you’ll get to choose who you interact with.

Volunteer work is also good for your mental health and social interaction. Learning new skills or creating a project to work on will also give you a sense of accomplishment as a lot of people tend to feel a lesser sense of their own self-worth when they retire. Therefore, it’s important to utilise your skills in a worthwhile capacity and to learn new ones to maintain your self-esteem. A good balanced diet and regular exercise will help too.

Help and Medication
Of course, for many people, a debilitating physical health problem, financial worries, the loss of a spouse or some other reason can unwittingly trigger anxiety or depression in even the most stable and optimistic person. In these situations, it’s important that you see your GP who can advise you on appropriate medication and other help and support you may be entitled to. This could include bereavement counselling, making sure that you’re receiving all the financial benefits you’re entitled to and offering you budgetary advice or helping to cope better with a physical ailment you may be suffering from. The important thing is to get yourself checked out early if you start feeling a sense of being gripped with anxiety or depression.

For most people, caught early enough, these types of condition are easily treatable as long as you, too, have the determination and positive attitude to overcome them.

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