We want to believe the holidays will spur instant happiness, but we also know that isn’t always the reality.
Some years, the holidays might spur the blues, including for senior citizens who may be grieving the loss of a loved one or suffering from a lack of mobility that makes them isolated. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to help brighten the season.
This was the topic of discussion on the airwaves by wellness expert and radio personality Angela Moore. She recently spoke with Waltonwood Regional Director of Resident Care Jennifer Conlan and Waltonwood Regional Director of Resident Care - Michigan Richard Mabe on her radio show. (Listen to it on SoundCloud here starting at 1:25:41).
A critical step of combating holiday depression is recognizing it, says therapist Bridgette Mitchel. “Once you know it’s there and it’s a real thing, then you can deploy tools to deal with it,” she says.
The silver lining is that holiday blues don’t have to last the entire season or forever. Let’s talk solutions.
Eliminate False Expectations:
First, eliminate false expectations that can lead to a letdown. We all see fake happiness at huge family parties on TV, thinking our own holiday should be as elaborate and joyous. In reality, many seniors are missing loved ones who have passed away. Reframing how the holidays “should be” can open one’s heart to creating new memories and new traditions.
Participate in Life Enrichment Activities:
Participating in the Life Enrichment programs at our Waltonwood Senior Living communities is an excellent way to elevate the holidays, get cheery and allow residents to enjoy new ways to celebrate, socialize and make lasting memories. See how we celebrate the holidays during our upcoming Open House on Dec. 5-9, 2022.
Our company-sponsored Adventure by Waltonwood program is a next-level life enrichment offering that encourages residents to live their best life by pursuing experiences that are meaningful to them – be that a helicopter ride or a trip to the symphony.
Tawnya Bass, a midwife, who lost her mother, said she examined new ways to avoid holiday depression - self-care is one important aspect.
“On top of my loss, the pressure of gifts, the finances that went along with it, just made my life miserable,” Bass said. “Consumerism and the holidays can bring out the worst people. But this year, I am having my fourth non-depressed holiday! Yoga and meditation saved my life! Take time for self-care during the season.”
Spread Some Cheer:
For Michigander Kristin Andrews, her mom’s loss also forever changed how she views the holidays. She found her solution for inner cheer: spreading holiday happiness in honor of her mother./p>
“My mom loved Christmas, and so do I, so I try to be ‘extra’ on Christmas,” Andrews said. “I try to give to others because of the warm fuzzy feeling you get.”
You can spread cheer by sending holiday cards, baking cookies for others or even calling people to tell them why they are special to you.
Still, make sure to communicate. If you’re not feeling 100 percent, it’s OK. Be honest in expressing yourself to your loved ones. If people are willing to help you, let them.
Then, if you need professional help, it’s available. Pick up the phone: call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to somebody.
May your season be merry!