Overcoming the Holiday Blues for Aging Seniors

Are you dreading the coming weeks? Together we can overcome the holiday blues!

Holidays can be a joyful time of year for many of us but unfortunately numerous aging seniors feel particularly vulnerable during the holiday season. Declining health, the death of a spouse and memories of happier times with family and friends can contribute to what is commonly called the holiday blues. 

The holidays may not be the same as it once was for you, but with a little positive thinking and some helpful ideas to combat loneliness, you can still find it to be a special time of peace and joy.

Here are strategies to help manage the holiday blues and hopefully build new traditions and memories.  

Remember what the holiday season is truly about.
Ignore the increasing hype over food, gifts, decorations and parties. Instead, focus on the people and values you cherish. Make this holiday season more about being thankful for what you have and who you have in your life.

Be sure to keep your expectations for the holiday season manageable and set realistic goals for the coming weeks. If you feel a sense of overwhelming blues, you may need to stop, take deep breaths then consider if you need to adjust your expectations.

Allow room for emotions and don’t expect to set aside what you are going through just because it’s the holidays. Remember your holiday may look different, but it can still be meaningful.

Reach out to family and friends to chat or invite them over for a cup of cider or hot chocolate. Just having someone to talk to can go a long way toward relieving the holiday blues.

If you can, get out of the house for an hour or two. The holidays offer many opportunities such as church, concerts, light shows, parades and school plays. These activities are a good way to lift your mood by keeping your mind on other things and by being around other people.

Neighbors Who Care can help with our many services including Friendly Visits. Give us a call 📞 480-895-7133.

Stay active.
Try to resist the urge to sit all day in the recliner watching television or Christmas movies. Take a walk or just get outside for some fresh air. If you have a regular physical activity routine, don’t skip it. If you don’t have a regular routine, take this season to discover a sense of adventure.

Get the creative juices flowing.
Giving gifts can certainly can make us feel good so maybe you can spend some time creating something special for someone you love. Gift-giving from the heart is the best kind of gift!

Easy on the eyes.
Limit watching the television, especially the news, where you can see a constant flow of bad news which can create a high-level of anxiety that most do not even realize they’re experiencing. If you spend time watching television pick a feel-good show or movie.

Be careful of the time you spend looking at social media where everyone is posting what they are doing. It will only give a sense of what you would like to do but can’t. And a friendly reminder – many posts are improbable or unrealistic so look at them through your eyes, not theirs.

Give back.
Giving back greatly improves our moods and increases a sense of self-worth. Volunteer at a local event or donate your time or money to an organization you are passionate about.

Help others who have long lists of to-dos. You can contribute by helping in the kitchen, wrapping some presents or holding a baby or reading a book to toddlers while their mother tends to her list.

Make it a healthy holiday.
While the holiday season is sure to tempt you with cookies, chocolate and candy canes, you need to make sure you give your body what it needs. If you have a special diet, stick to it. Try and include foods that help fight the blues such as leafy greens, avocados, apples, berries, nuts and seeds.

Alcohol is a known depressant so excessive drinking can increase the feelings of depression. Drink other festive drinks such as eggnog, hot chocolate, cranberry juice or flavored sparkling water.

Explore new hobbies.
Consider exploring a new activity or hobby, or teach someone else a craft you’re skilled at. Maybe you have a grandchild that would love to learn how to knit or crochet. Maybe meet a friend and do a puzzle together. Create gifts for birthdays and other special occasions that can relieve some stress throughout the upcoming year.

Make new traditions.
You are never too old to try something new. Create a few smaller, but no less meaningful, holiday traditions. Instead of hosting a big party, invite a few friends over for a cup of warm cider or hot chocolate. You may not be able to spend all day cooking and baking, so find your favorite recipe or try a new one to make for your family or friends. 

Talk it out.
It’s hard to face the holidays when you are navigating new challenges in life and trying to come to terms with a new normal. Find a family member, friend or professional counselor you can talk with who can help you through this difficult time. If you need assistance, be sure to call Neighbors Who Care 📞 480-895-7133.

What to look for in 2023.
After the holidays, be sure to look for signs of something more serious than just seasonal sadness. Holiday blues are often temporary and go away when the season ends. If the blues continue after the season, it could be a warning sign of depression. Depression is a very real and can be treated and managed, but can be life-threatening if left untreated. See your doctor if your blues stick around after the holidays.

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