Looking forward to retirement? You might be caught off-guard by an unexpected emotion: depression after retirement. Post-retirement depression is not widely talked about and more common than many realize.

One would think our golden years would bring enjoyment and freedom, but the transition from “work-life” to “retired-life” brings a lot of emotions, including sadness. Some retirees may feel a loss of identity when they are no longer defined by a job title. Others are unsure of how to fill their extra time.

Baby Boomers, who are excited and empowered by their new freedom, not being tied to a nine-to-five job, may be unprepared for the lack of structure in their days. They may feel unproductive and depressed by the change of pace.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with post-retirement depression. Below are some tips that could help get you on the right path to beating depression, but remember it's important to talk to your doctor or a loved one first about any concerns you have on depression.

Keep your day planner. Schedule your days like you would schedule meetings for work. Set aside time for exercise, errands and social activities. Adding physical activities to your routine will also help your body release those “feel good” endorphins to beat the blues. Make sure your schedule isn’t too rigorous. Allow some time for flexibility, after all, you are retired! Marking a calendar gives a tangible sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Don’t be alone. Social activities are imperative to better health, especially as we get older. Fortunately, retirement communities offer a wide variety of events and outings to fit all interests. Battle depression and loneliness by surrounding yourself with great company. With so many opportunities to make friends and stay active, you would seldom worry about answering the daunting question, “what will I do with myself today?” An Acts Lifestyle allows you to meaningfully enjoy your retirement.

Talk about it. Never feel ashamed about feeling down or suppress those feelings because you’re embarrassed by it. Research suggests a significantly higher number of older men than women struggle with depression because they may be less likely to ask for help. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), four times as many men as women die by suicide in the U.S., which may result from a higher prevalence of untreated depression. This study emphasizes the importance of seeking professional help. HIMH stated eight out of 10 cases of depression respond to medical treatment and therapy.

Watch out for alcohol. People dealing with stress and anxiety may drink to “loosen up” without realizing it can trigger or worsen depression symptoms. Alcohol is classified as a depressant. Drinking too much lowers the levels of serotonin in your brain – a chemical that helps to regulate your mood. Alcohol could also negatively affect your sleep. Not getting enough sleep can increase depression and overall well-being. It’s a dangerous cycle.

Limit your financial worries. The unexpected and skyrocketing costs of home ownership and medical expenses could make anyone anxious and uncertain. All Acts retirement communities are life care communities. This means your monthly fee will never increase if a higher level of care is later needed. And no more worries about being a financial burden on your loved ones. The Acts Samaritan Fund offers assistance to residents who outlive their resources through no fault of their own.

Retirement brings change, and change is often unpredictable. At Acts, stress-free living is attainable. Worry less and positively enjoy your retirement!