Finding Your Identity After Retirement

senior man playing tennis

You’ve worked for decades juggling your career and family life with retirement in mind. But what if your post-career life isn’t what you expected?

“We look forward to, and sometimes look forward to, retirement,” says geriatric psychiatrist Steven Wenger, M.D. “But let’s face reality, it can be difficult if you haven’t made plans for retirement.”

Is it possible to become depressed when you retire?

A recent study found that 28% of retirees experience depression, significantly higher than the elderly population overall.

Some retirees feel they have lost their identity once they leave their careers.

“Sometimes we forget that jobs meet different needs,” says Dr. Wenger. “We need to make money and make a living, but our jobs give us so much more. It’s like.”

Additionally, recent retirees may feel guilty about leaving their work teammates in the “ditch” and feel anxious, lonely, and even sad about losing their careers.

how to enjoy life after retirement

According to Dr. Wenger, the key to enjoying a fulfilling life in retirement is planning, just like you plan your finances.

“You might want to save money for retirement instead of waiting until your retirement date,” he says. “But for some reason, when it comes to the psychological aspects of retirement, we don’t do a lot of planning ahead.”

Dr. Wenger suggests creating a diverse retirement activity portfolio that includes:

  • hobby
  • Volunteer activity
  • reunion with friends

To avoid overcrowding your schedule, Dr. Wenger suggests identifying two or three activities you enjoy and planning around them.

“If you don’t need 10, it’s probably too many. It makes me feel like I’m on a treadmill again,” he says.

Comprehensive wellness plan

In addition to planned activities, establishing a simple daily routine can also help retirees stay fit. These may include:

  • wake up and go to bed at about the same time
  • exercise regularly
  • Eating a regular, balanced diet

While the above habits are important for physical and mental health, there are other aspects to overall health as well, such as emotional, social, and mental health. Dr. Wenger suggests improving your health in eight specific aspects of health using this step-by-step guide.

stay connected

Humans need connection. Not only does it help us feel valued and part of a community, it also helps us improve our health and well-being.

In addition, Dr. Wenger said research shows that older people thrive when they have someone or something that needs them.

“Whether it’s a human or a pet, or even if you can’t have a pet, like in a nursing home, it’s important to have at least one other creature that depends on you. In fact, they found: Having a houseplant that depends on you is better than nothing,” he says. “It seems like a basic need to have these connections and to be needed.

For those looking to connect with others through volunteerism, the Eastern Nebraska Administration on Aging (ENOA) offers opportunities and resources to help older adults stay active and independent. I’m here.

when to ask for help

While it’s normal and even expected to have mixed feelings after retirement, it’s important to seek help if you’re experiencing signs of depression, such as trouble sleeping or changes in appetite.

“Start by talking to your doctor,” says Dr. Wenger. “Doctors can help determine and determine if any treatment, talk therapy, or medication is needed.”

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