The sound of bells ringing, caroling, the fresh smell of baked goods, trees, and lights all are signs that the holidays are coming. For most of us, the holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate and reflect on the past while planning for the future. This time is filled with joys, family and friends.
For many older adults, the holidays are viewed in a different way than they once were. The older adult may see the holidays as highly stressful, confusing, and lonely. For some seniors, the holidays can be a time that reminds them of losses. They think about the loss of loved ones, perhaps the loss of their family home and all the traditions that they carried out throughout the years. They maybe sadden by the loss of good health. They reminisce about holidays gone by and it just isn’t the same. Some of the holiday enchantment is simply gone. In fact, what was once filled with wonderment may even feel like a burden. It may be difficult to get dressed up and ready for a big celebration when you do not feel your best.
So, if you’re feeling the holiday blues, how do you get into the spirit of the holiday season?
Here are a few tips that you may find helpful:
- First, keep your daily routine as much as possible.
- Get plenty of rest and do not forget to eat sensibly.
- Get as much exercise as you can tolerate.
- If you feel blue, call a friend, family member, or neighbor.
- If you are invited to a gathering, say “yes!” even if it would be much easier to stay home. Social connectedness is especially important at holiday times.
- Do something nice for someone—call a friend who has been ill and ask how they are doing. Ask a neighbor who is all alone to share a cup of tea or cider with you.
- Help shake-up traditions and create some new ideas.
- Get involved in events offered by your community. Many of these programs are at no cost.
- Think of the many blessings that you have experienced in your life.
If you experience the holiday blues, although these feelings are difficult, it is temporary. It is important to spend the holiday season with supportive and caring people. As families, traditions and life changes, be open and embrace the fact that each holiday season is different and should be enjoyed in its own unique way.
Information provided by Susan Ray, The Reserve, 2727 82nd Pl., Urbandale, 515-727-5927