The holidays are jam-packed with family get-togethers, parties, and culinary adventures. Amidst all these activities, seniors occasionally find themselves feeling unexpectedly depressed. The holidays can be a time when some of us are dealing with the loss of a loved one, while others might be going through a major life change. Luckily, there’s a few practical ways you can get a grip on your holiday-related headaches. Here are five tips to help you avoid the negative effects of seasonal stress.
Create new traditions
Sadness and grief are normal. Trying to push your feelings aside may do more harm than good. Instead, make this year a turning point. Create some new memories by ending your isolation. Reach out to others in need, or take the time to volunteer. Plan a vacation for the New Years, and you can spend the rest of the month looking forward to a post-holiday reward.
Take opportunities to reflect
Next time you find yourself stuck in traffic, at the Doctor’s office, or in line up at the shopping center, don’t allow yourself to become frustrated or annoyed. Instead, examine your thoughts. Reflect, relax, and make this little bit of wait-time into a meaningful gift to yourself. Look around you and observe the activity. Take a deep breath. Chances are good that you’ll walk away feeling emotionally refreshed.
Manage your time
Consider your obligations, responsibilities and requests from others, and resolve to pick and choose only the events you want to attend. Don’t let yourself feel guilty about declining party invitations or gatherings you haven’t enjoyed in the past. Plan to do at least one joyful activity each day of your holiday vacation. Allowing your own spirits to be lifted will go a long way toward reducing stress.
Take care of your own well being
Don’t abandon your healthy lifestyle choices. Be sure to get enough sleep, eat regular meals, and continue with your exercise routine. This may be a good time to add a few relaxation techniques to your workouts. They’ll have a positive effect on your attitude, feelings, and outlook towards life.
Reflect on what the holiday really means to you
Think about the real reason that you are celebrating the holidays this year. Keep the traditions of past years that successfully brought you and your loved ones together, and let go of the rituals that caused stress.
If this is one of your first seasons in a new seniors’ community or retirement home, consider participating in seasonal activities and get acquainted with others who share your interests. Volunteer opportunities abound in the community during this time of the year. You may discover that reaching out to others in need will do your heart a world of good.
Alice Lucette is a blogger for SeniorsZen.com, a complimentary retirement resource for Canadian seniors.