It is a myth to think that after a certain age, older adults cannot learn new skills, try new activities, or make new lifestyle changes. The truth is that the human brain never stops changing, which is why, as an older adult, you are as capable as a young person of learning new things and adjusting to new ideas that can help you recover from depression.

Overcoming depression involves finding new things to enjoy, learning to adapt to change, being physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones. Of course, when you’re depressed, taking action and implementing self-help measures can be difficult …

Sometimes just thinking about the things you have to do to feel better can seem overwhelming . But small steps can make a big difference in how you feel. Taking a short walk, for example, is something you can do right now and can improve your mood for the next two hours. By taking small steps every day, your depression symptoms will ease and you will feel more energetic and hopeful again. Take note!

stay connected

If you are feeling depressed, you may not want to do anything or see anyone. But isolation only makes depression worse.  On its own, it can be difficult to keep perspective and maintain the effort required to beat depression. This is why support is important, so make an effort to connect with others and limit how long you are alone. If you can’t go out to socialize, invite your loved ones to visit or stay in touch by phone or email.

Remember something important: digital communication is not a replacement for face-to-face contact.  Do your best to see people in person on a daily basis. Your mood will thank you! And remember, it is never too late to build new friendships. To stay connected, don’t forget a few things to do:

  • Go out into the world. Try not to stay indoors all day. Go to the park, to the hairdresser, have lunch with a friend, visit a museum, or go to a concert or play.
  • Volunteer your time. Helping others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself and expand your social network.
  • Join a depression support group.  Being with other people who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation. It can also be inspiring to hear how others cope with depression .
  • Take care of a pet .  A pet can keep you company, and walking a dog, for example, can be good exercise for you and a great way to meet people. Dog owners love to chat while their pets play together.
  • Go to classes or activity sessions that you like to meet like-minded people.  Try joining a senior center, book club, or other group of people with similar interests.
  • Create opportunities to laugh.  The laughter improves mood, so humorous stories and jokes exchanged with loved ones, watch a comedy or read a funny book.

Find meaning and purpose in life

To overcome depression, and prevent it from coming back, it is important to continue to feel committed and enjoy a strong purpose in life.  As we age, life changes and you can lose things that previously occupied your time and gave life meaning. Retirement, loss of close friends or loved ones, relocation outside of your social network, and changes in your finances, condition, or physical health can all affect your mood, confidence, and self-esteem. 

But there are still many ways that you can find new meaning in life and continue to feel committed to the world. Sometimes it’s just a matter of reframing how you think about yourself or the aging process. For it:

  • Focus on what you can still do, not what you used to do. Maybe you feel frustrated that you can’t do everything you ever could, or at least not at the same levels? Or maybe negative ideas about aging have affected your self-confidence? Instead of concentrating on what you once did, try concentrating on the things you can do. You will see how much you still have to offer …
  • Learn a new skill. Choose something that you have always wanted to learn, or that sparks your imagination and creativity : a musical instrument, a foreign language, or a new game or sport, for example. Learning new activities not only adds meaning and joy to life, it can also help keep your brain healthy and prevent mental decline.
  • Get involved in your community.  Try attending a local event, tutoring children, or volunteering for a cause that is important to you. The work community can be an excellent way to use and pass on the skills perfected in your career, without compromising or stress of regular employment.
  • Take pride in your appearance.   When you retire, it’s easy to get a little carried away now that you don’t have to be at work every day. But putting effort into how you look each morning can give you a positive boost to your self-esteem and improve the way you feel.
  • Travels. Once you are retired and your children have left home, you will likely have more free time to visit the places you’ve always wanted to go. Book a vacation to a new place or take a weekend trip to your favorite place. Traveling doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive to boost your mood . Enjoy time in nature by hiking, fishing, camping, or spending a day at the beach.
  • Write your memoirs, learn to paint or do something new … Everyone has a different idea about what gives meaning and purpose to life. The important thing is to find activities that are meaningful and enjoyable for you. The more you feed your spirit, the better you will feel. If you don’t feel better with anything … go to a professional to help you.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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