During December, nearly every moment seems to be filled with holiday music, Christmas cards, festive decorations, wishes of glad tidings, and general efforts to “spread good cheer.” It’s a warm and wonderful time that we embrace and share with family and friends. Some people, however, find themselves suffering from the “holiday blues.” Anyone – including senior citizens – can feel a little sad around this time of year as they may be facing loneliness, loss of loved ones, financial burdens or other concerns. Caregivers and family members should be on the lookout for “holiday blues” and take proactive steps to help seniors have a more enjoyable time of year.
Diane Carigliano, RN, director of The Saybrook at Haddam’s wellness team, hosted a special “Beat the Blues” holiday event for residents and families. The team talked about recognizing some of the physical and emotional signs of the blues – and celebrating ways to avoid them. Here are a few of their suggestions:
Be realistic and enjoy new traditions and other holiday celebrations. Some people dwell on past Christmases or the way things used to be. We cannot always recreate what we loved in the past, so it is healthier to focus on what we have in front of us today. One easy way to do this is to write a list of things you appreciate about your life – and use that as a daily reminder of all that is good!
Look for ways to help others. More than 11 million senior citizens engage in volunteerism each year which means there are millions of opportunities for seniors to get involved. They can team with local churches, senior centers or libraries, the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, national homeless or hunger relief organizations, or community-based activities to find a project that fits their interest and availability. By doing this, the true meaning of Christmas can come through and lift seniors’ spirits.
Take good care of your body. Staying healthy is the best way to enjoy the holidays so eat well, don’t skip meals, drink plenty of water, reduce sugar and alcohol intake, exercise, and spend time outdoors (weather permitting). This is a great time to treat yourself to a massage or learn a relaxation technique such as meditation, yoga or Tai Chi. If you let healthy habits slip, you run a greater risk of illness and/or injury – which are guaranteed to put a damper on anyone’s holiday!
Practice forgiveness. Sometimes people do or say things that hurt us – and we have a hard time looking past those wrongdoings. However, holding on to bad feelings ends up hurting us and can affect our holidays. Forgiving all sorts of people – from our past, our work, or our families – will definitely heal the spirit.
Do one little act of kindness every day. Small things like holding the door open for a stranger, sharing a smile, running an errand for a friend, or calling a relative can improve everyone’s day.
Love, love, love. When we embrace love, we have a much better outlook on life. So, make an extra effort to love your family and friends, your home and environment, and even yourself for the best holiday season ever!
The holiday blues are no fun – but recognizing what they are will help you deal with them and send them packing. Then you can relax and truly enjoy all the seasonal festivities as they are intended (just go easy on the egg nog!).
For more information on the wellness program at The Saybrook at Haddam, or for a personalized tour of the independent retirement, assisted living, and memory care community, please contact David Downey at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 860-345-3779.