According to Gallup, Baby Boomers are experiencing more depression than any other generation. The report states that “one in seven baby boomers (14%) say they are currently being treated for depression, which is a higher rate than among other generations of American adults.”
The kids are gone, your career is winding down, perhaps you’ve retired (or, like many others of this generation, you can’t afford to retire), and anxiety over how you will support yourself is often uppermost in your mind. That coupled with declining health issues can be cause for anyone’s depression.
Depression comes in many types, and it’s always best to seek medical professional help if you are suffering from depression or anxiety. Sometimes it only takes finding the right medication and dosage to get the depressed person back on track. But there are things we can do to help alleviate depression outside of medication.
Keep yourself busy.
People who lead busy lives don’t have time to be depressed. Whether it’s volunteering, joining a club, or working (full or part time), having something to focus on other than depression helps. So helping with the kids who need tutoring, walking dogs for the local animal shelter, or learning a new skill such as crocheting or painting with other people helps.
Don’t be isolated.
When people are depressed, they often want to be alone. This is the worst thing you can do when you are feeling low. Get out of the house, meet friends for lunch, or attend your church’s extracurricular activities. Be with other people.
Get in shape.
Join a gym or the local YMCA. Or skip the memberships and simply go for a walk. Enlisting a friend to walk with you is even better. Check out parks in your area for hiking trails and get moving. Swimming is wonderful exercise as it uses your muscles adequately without the trauma of pounding from running on hard surfaces.
Get enough sleep.
Make your bedtime a habit, and don’t sit in front of a screen for an hour before retiring to bed. Go to bed at the same time every day and get up at the same time, too. Those circadian rhythms are important things, and when they are off, you are more likely to suffer the effects of depression.
There are studies that show a direct relationship between sugar consumption and depression. Eating right means limiting your sugar intake and eating healthy fats and proteins with every snack or meal. (And here’s one of my favorite depression-busters: dark chocolate!)