Retirement, no matter when it comes in life, is not always easy to handle emotionally. For those unprepared for the lifestyle change, or those who lack support, retirement can lead to depression.
Most people think middle-aged individuals develop a midlife crisis around age 45 and older; however, according to John Hopkins medicine a later-life crisis will occur in one out or every third person over 60.
Retirement And Leisure Lifestyle Is An Adjustment
Midlife or later life crisis is characterized by looking at life in the rearview mirror. Many individuals have retired not from their own choice but rather due to economic and social conditions. In other words, many people may have been thrust into a full-blown midlife crisis after retirement and may not even realize it.
Perhaps they didn’t plan financially for their lifestyle change, look at what leisure time will mean to them, and were unprepared for the drastic change that retirement would bring to them after a lifetime of working and establishing their careers.
So when they start thinking about how to fill up their time productively, they do not know what leisure activity to pursue or if they will enjoy anything to keep busy at this age. The lack of awareness and planning can lead to depression and boredom, driving some retirees to drink heavily or isolate themselves.
Some may find their days too long, and others might feel lost without a job. They may have difficulty sleeping or problems with memory, concentration, and decision-making that can add to feelings of anxiety and insecurity.
Some common causes of depression in retirement are:
- Not having enough money to do the things they want to do
- Health problems that make retirement difficult
- Feeling like a burden on their loved ones
- Loneliness and isolation
- No longer having a sense of purpose
Retirement is a life event that has changed how we live in the world, who we are, and who people see us as. How we adjust is what determines our success in this stage. Retirement is not an ending, it is a beginning to expressing who we indeed are. All of our life experiences draw together at this stage, and leisure planning and awareness are crucial components to being fulfilled.
Leisure Awareness and Planning
There is good news in preventing or lessening the effects of a retirement crisis.
One way is to be proactive and become “leisure aware.”
Being leisure-aware means learning about the opportunities available in retirement, whether part-time work, travel, continuing education, or volunteering. It also involves taking time to reflect on what you enjoyed doing before retirement and incorporating those activities into your new lifestyle.
If loneliness or isolation are problems, look for social activities or groups that fit your interests. Participating in leisure activities that are meaningful and interesting to you can help prevent depression. You can avoid a retirement crisis with the right plan and leisure awareness.
Steps To Begin Your Leisure Awareness Journey
- Take time to assess what you enjoyed doing before retirement.
- Make a list of what you do enjoy doing and why.
- Look for social activities or groups that fit your interests. If a group does not exist for the activities you enjoy, start a group. I am sure others will enjoy what you want to do.
- Research opportunities available, such as part-time work, travel, continuing education, or volunteering.
Leisure awareness and planning are essential aspects of a great life. By being leisure-aware, you can avoid the retirement crisis. As a result, your depression risks lessen, and you can live a life fulfilled and joyful during your retired years.