The holidays can be a time of excitement and anticipation for many people. Whether it’s celebrating traditions, indulging in festive meals and holiday treats, or just spending time with loved ones, it seems impossible to feel down during this time of the year. But this is not always the case, especially for seniors.
Unfortunately, the holidays tend to cause older adults to feel time passing quickly as well as bring up memories of family and friends who may have died or moved away. For seniors, the end of the year can be a time of deep thought and reflection which can make traditions seem meaningless. But there are steps you can take to move past these feelings and reclaim the joy of this holiday season.
Avoiding Seasonal Holiday Depression
If you have faced holiday depression in the past, there is no need to simply wait for it to happen again. You can start taking active and simple steps against depression as the holidays begin to approach.
Begin by keeping yourself on a regular easy to follow schedule. Plan out all your holiday activities such as shopping, cleaning, and decorating so there is no need to complete your errands in a rush. Be sure to also work in some restorative activities that you enjoy, this could be reading or even scheduling a nap!
Get as much regular exercise as you can. When depression hits, it can be hard for people, (especially seniors), to get the healthy amount of physical activity they need. Make regular exercise a top priority for yourself as it will keep your mind occupied and give you a break from the stress of the holidays.
It can be easy to overindulge in food and alcohol during this festive time of year, it’s a celebration for many after all. But if you normally find yourself getting sad during this time, it’s best to avoid overly consuming food.
Depression can be triggered by overeating, especially if the food you consume is not exactly healthy. Stick to healthier meals and beverages and try to limit or avoid alcohol as it isn’t something you should use to help yourself feel better.
The Loss of a Loved One
One of the biggest causes of depression during the holiday season is the death of a family member or friend. This time of the year can force many seniors to think back and remember those they may have lost causing feelings of sadness. This loss can force Holiday traditions to change and that alone can bring up feelings of grief or emptiness for seniors.
Addressing and honoring the memory of your lost loved one can be the best way to overcome the sorrow you may be feeling. Place a picture of the person in a place that your friends and family can see when they are over, this can help people remember the person you’ve lost and keep his or her memory alive during the holiday celebration.
Practice and celebrate the traditions your loved one enjoyed and keep the practice going from year to year. This is a perfect way to respect the joys of your loved one and allow a younger generation of your family to take part and carry the tradition on. You can go one step further and set aside a time for you and your family to share a funny memory of your loved one to keep the holiday spirit upbeat.
Financial and Shopping Stress
This is a common cause of holiday depression that can affect more than just seniors. Money can become increasingly tight for people during this time of the year and the holiday bills can pile up leading many to feel depressed. But there are ways to cope with the financial stress.
Instead of going out and buying gifts for your family, make your gifts by hand and wrap them yourself. Accompany the gifts you create with handmade cards and the personal touch your gift bring will be worth more than any store-bought material item.
Cook a meal for your family or bake some sweets for your grandchildren as a supplement to a gift. Baking and cooking are great ways to show love for your family and both are easily one of best ways to give a gift during the holidays.
If you do plan to buy gifts for your loved ones, don’t wait until it’s too late. Waiting until the last minute to go shopping can add to your stress as you deal with the crowds and overly busy malls and shopping centres. Last minute shopping can also often lead to overspending on a product as retailers may charge more for a gift as the holiday approaches.