Merry & Bright: Overcoming the Holiday Blues for Aging Seniors

The holidays can be a joyful time of year for many of us but unfortunately numerous aging seniors feel particularly vulnerable during the holiday season. Factors such as declining health, the loss of a spouse, and reminiscences of happier moments with loved ones can collectively contribute to what is commonly referred to as the holiday blues. 

The holidays may not be the same as it once was, but with a little positive thinking and some helpful ideas to combat loneliness, many can still find it to be a wonderful time of the year.

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

Forget about all the fuss with food, gifts, decorations, and parties. Just think about the people and things that really matter to you. This holiday, focus on being thankful for what you have and the people you care about.

Keep things simple and don’t expect too much from the holidays. Set realistic goals for yourself. If you start feeling really down, take a break, take some deep breaths, and think about whether you need to change your plans.

Give yourself space to feel your emotions, and don’t feel pressured to put aside what you’re experiencing just because it’s the holidays. Keep in mind that your holiday might be different, but it can still hold meaning.

1️⃣ Socialize
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.

2️⃣ Stay Active
Avoid spending the entire day sitting in the recliner watching TV or Christmas movies. Instead, go for a walk or step outside for some fresh air. If you usually engage in physical activities, stick to your routine. If you don’t have a regular routine, consider using this season as an opportunity to explore and add a bit of adventure to your life.

Making gifts can be a rewarding experience, bringing joy to both you and the recipient. Consider spending some time crafting something special for someone you love. Heartfelt, homemade gifts are truly the best kind of gift!

3️⃣ Easy on the Eyes
Limit TV time, especially the news, which can flood you with constant bad news and unknowingly increase anxiety. If you do watch TV, opt for 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. These posts often give a sense of what you would like to do but can’t. And a friendly reminder – many posts are improbable or unrealistic so so view them with your perspective, not theirs.

4️⃣ Explore New Hobbies
Think about trying out a fresh activity or hobby, or sharing your skills by teaching someone a craft you’re good at. Perhaps your grandchild would enjoy learning to knit or crochet. Consider meeting up with a friend to tackle a puzzle together. Crafting gifts for birthdays and other special occasions can also help alleviate stress throughout the coming year.

5️⃣ Give back to the Community and support busy bees!
Engaging in acts of kindness boosts our spirits and enhances our sense of value. Consider volunteering at a nearby event or contributing your time and resources to a cause you care about.

6️⃣ Support Busy Bees
Support those with busy schedules. Offer a helping hand in the kitchen, assist with gift wrapping, or lend a hand with childcare, like rocking a baby or reading a book to toddlers while their parent tackles their to-do list.

7️⃣ Have 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.

8️⃣ 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. 

9️⃣ 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.

🔟 Look forward to New Adventures in the New Year
As the new year approaches, look for fresh opportunities for joy and fulfillment. Whether pursuing hobbies, joining social groups, or embarking on new adventures, there’s so many activities to explore in our community.

After the holidays, be sure to pay attention to signs that may indicate more than just seasonal sadness. While holiday blues are typically temporary and fade after the season ends, if the feelings persist, it might be a sign of depression. Depression is a serious condition that can be treated and managed, but if left untreated, it can pose life-threatening risks. If your blues linger beyond the holidays, consult with your doctor for guidance.