Got a case of the holiday blues? Rest assured you’re not the only one who doesn’t feel joyous when the holiday decorations go on display and the festive music begins to play in every Kansas City store and on every radio station. Many seniors feel sad around the holidays.
Maybe you’re facing your first holiday season without your spouse. Or your kids and grandkids are unable to visit, and you don’t want to travel alone. Or you don’t have money for travel or gift giving.
Whatever your reason for feeling sad when the holidays roll around, there are some ways to kick those holiday blues. Here are some tips:
- Start a new holiday tradition. Sometimes, people feel depressed around the holidays because new family dynamics prohibit old family traditions. Instead of focusing on the end of an era, why not start something new? For example, plan a family “get together” via Skype or throw a tree trimming party.
- Invite people over. If you don’t have anywhere to celebrate the holidays, chances are, you’re not alone. So why not invite others over (e.g., friends, neighbors, fellow church members) who don’t have a place to go? You can buy a turkey or ham that’s already prepared at Price Chopper or Hy-Vee. Then ask everyone to bring a side dish.
- Draw names for gift giving. Like most seniors, you’re probably living on a fixed income, and money can get pretty tight if you’re trying to buy gifts for all your kids and grandkids. If money problems are adding to your holiday woes, ask your children if you can draw names instead of buying for everyone.
- Don’t dwell on the past. My mom was the one who was always in charge of organizing our holiday gatherings. So when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I think most of us felt a sense of loss around the holidays. But it helped to not focus so much on what had been and focused on what we could do in the moment. So we wheeled her out to the kitchen while we stuffed stocking and made candy. And we sang Christmas carols with her (She could still remember all the words!). Even though she may not have known what we were celebrating, she still seemed to enjoy being included. And we enjoyed our time with her.
- Continue to exercise and eat right. Exercise and proper nutrition are both mood boosters. As is sunshine. So going outside for a brisk walk every day can go a long way toward easing your holiday blues. To reduce fall risks, use the treadmill when there’s ice or snow on the ground.
- Try volunteering. Helping others can help make you feel good. Consider volunteering at a Kansas City shelter. Or visiting elderly people at a local nursing home.