Retirement blues: this is how they coped


And suddenly, everything stops. After more than 40 years of career, you are finally retired. You no longer have to get up in the morning to go to work, you no longer have to juggle work and family life, run around and satisfy everyone. Finally, you have time for yourself, just for you. You can resume swimming, learn to play bridge, visit all those cities you’ve always dreamed of seeing…

You thought you were living a waking dream, but the first mornings seem more like a nightmare. You didn’t see it coming, but the blues took hold of you and that’s not abnormal. Many people feel this nostalgia once the course is over and, sometimes, it settles for a long time. This is particularly the case of Brigitte, who was afraid to stop before even making the decision to do so in the summer of 2021. Until the end, this teacher taught her students and it took her a lot of time to get used to this new rhythm.

Like many retirees we interviewed, the 60-year-old felt emptied when she left her workplace and has since felt “useless”. The absence of this social connection that she had daily was difficult to bear for the first few months, which is not surprising. The OPAR association is at the heart of the lives of retirees in Rennes (Ille-et-Vilaine), where it organizes activities especially for them. Asked by Planet, she confirms that in retirement, “if you don’t go to others, to associations, you easily find yourself alone if you don’t have a good network of friends or family yourself”.

At the reception of their infrastructure, the association often receives people who say “it took them a year or two to walk through the door”. “They needed time to tell themselves that they were retired, to do activities with other retirees. Accepting all this, psychologically, it takes time for some people”, concludes the OPAR with Planet . Several retirees have told us about this sometimes painful stage of their new life and especially how they got out of it. Meet.

How to occupy yourself when you no longer have any imperatives to get up in the morning? Brigitte retired in the fall, entering a period of “cocooning” during which she did not particularly want to leave her home. “At that season, it’s more difficult to motivate yourself, it’s gray, it’s starting to get cold, it gets dark early…”, remembers the sixty-year-old with Planet. As a result, she spends most of her time at home and only goes out to see friends or family. This slower pace, which befits the winter, ends in the spring and with it his post-retirement depression begins to ease a little.

“It took me a while to get used to this new rhythm, but in the spring I did a lot of sorting in my house. I threw away things that had been lying around for months or even years. emptied my mind and, with the good weather, I managed to see the glass half full rather than half empty,” she concludes. If she has any advice for those who have not yet retired and who are afraid of this depression, it is that “it is better to stop in the spring, because we have more dynamism than during the fall or winter. She also insists on the sorting, which has been beneficial to her, as if she were saying goodbye to this old part of her life. That’s not the only thing she’s changed about her.

The first year, Brigitte did not participate in any activity, did not register anywhere. She didn’t want to, didn’t need to and preferred to spend a large part of her time at home. Once spring arrived, she wanted to meet new people and therefore inquired about registering for different activities.

Elisabeth also needed to do activities to taste the pleasure of being retired. Having stayed at home for several months with her husband, she began to feel more and more tired, “lazy” to do something. She took the bull by the horns and decided to sign up for various workshops organized in her city: bridge, belote… She also met new people, with whom she goes to aquagym once a week. For Elisabeth, it was really these activities that “helped her get through it”: “I should have done it earlier! Maybe I needed this in-between moment, that gave me the courage to take the plunge when I felt capable of it”.

For Sophie, on the contrary, it was going back a bit to her old life that allowed her to savor the new one. This former teacher gave support lessons to students several months after her retirement. A way to make the transition smoothly, while her husband was still working. If she has now stopped, to take care of her grandchildren, she does not regret having taken this time for young teenagers.