Overcoming the Holiday Blues in the Elderly

Overcoming the Holiday Blues in the Elderly
Holiday Season is Upon Us

As the holiday season approaches, many elderly people and their caregivers may find themselves struggling with feelings of loss that accompany this special time of year. Whether due to a personal tragedy or simply feeling alone during the holidays, it can be difficult for older adults and those who care for them to appreciate what should otherwise be a joyful season full of love, warmth and cheer. With awareness comes understanding - both in terms of recognizing signs and symptoms associated with these holiday blues as well as providing strategies on how best to manage such negative feelings when they arise.

Holiday Depression and Our Mental Well Being

The holiday season may be one of joy for many, but it can evoke feelings of loneliness and anticipatory grief in seniors and family caregivers alike. Those providing care to an aging loved one often struggle with the stress that comes from not having energy or health to enjoy festive activities themselves.

My decades as a nurse have revealed this reality - while our individual experiences contribute greatly to why we feel holiday blues, no person is alone in this experience. There are real emotional effects at play here: depression among those caring for others coupled with anxiety over how get through these trying times.

Feeling Depressed? Experiencing Holiday Sadness?

The holiday season and holiday events can bring added stress and anxiety for family caregivers. Health issues, financial stress and depression-like symptoms like Seasonal Affective Disorder contribute to the difficulties that many experience this time of year - from a sense of sadness to financial strain. With shorter days resulting in less sunlight during winter months, it's important we learn how to show self-care with extra support when grief or holiday blues take hold.

The Holiday Season Brings Holiday Blues

Two pine cones
Beating the Holdiay Blues

With the holidays fast approaching, it's important to remember that feeling overwhelmed and sad, is a common symptom for many people. Although these 'holiday blues' are temporary, family caregivers should keep an eye out for signs or symptoms of depression in their loved ones. Unrealistic expectations can stir up experiences of loneliness and loss; We experience feelings of stress and anxiety, especially when bombarded with TV ads and over-commercialization long before Halloween hits!

It may feel like you're out of sync from other celebrating around you – but know that your feelings are valid.

Holiday Blues Dealing with Difficult Emotions

Our expectations have the power to shape our experiences, both positively and negatively. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines expectation as a strong belief that something will happen or be in the case in future—and yet these ideas of what "should" happen can lead us down an unrealistic path of striving for unattainable goals which often result in unmet desires and feelings of disappointment. This predisposition towards anticipation causes many people to experience holiday depression every year when their hopes don't align with reality. It's important to remember that success doesn't necessarily mean meeting all your wishes; sometimes it’s simply being thankful for where you are now!

Stress levels How to Improve our Mood

It is human nature to focus on the negatives but with a bit of effort and reprogramming, we can create positive thought habits. This holiday season let us refocus our attention towards an attitude of gratitude! By doing so regularly through small lifestyle changes, it will cause even negative thoughts to be replaced by uplifting ones - in fact research suggests that 25 positives are needed for every single negative one. Let's all make mental wellness our priority this festive season and fill ourselves up with those endorphin-releasing moments which come from thinking positively not just once or twice but each day.

Need Some Holiday Cheer, Not Holiday Blues?

My little Candlelight
Holiday Cheer

With the holiday season in full swing, it can be easy to forget that not everyone feels jolly and bright. To make sure your loved ones don't succumb to the "holiday blues," here are some tips for surviving this time of year:

Rather than isolating yourself from festivities or letting unrealistic expectations dictate how you feel, take control by focusing on what brings YOU happiness during the holidays! Find activities - like baking cookies with friends or decorating a tree – that bring a sense of comfort instead of dread. Doing things solely because they're expected is so last decade; focus more on doing things out of genuine interest and anticipation for future memories.

Holiday Depression and Healthy Habits

With the decreased sunlight during this time of year, we find ourselves more susceptible to feelings of anxiety and depression. Reach out in your community - there are many seniors who can feel especially isolated at holiday times due to fewer youth around them. Simple acts like setting up transportation for events or baking cookies and handing them out make an enormous impact on their mental health! The key is focusing not just on a single day but extending it through the entirety of December; encouraging our aging population to get outside every day will provide substantial benefits all round.

Past Holidays Cause Difficult Emotions During the Holiday Months

Thankful
Have an Attitude of Gratitide

Holidays can be a difficult time for those who have lost loved ones. Therefore, it is important to find ways of coping and embracing new traditions while staying connected to memories from the past. To bring healing during this season, one individual has chosen to host large celebrations that include friends and neighbours – providing an opportunity for everyone in the community come together as family. By adapting traditional customs or creating brand-new practices over time, we may honor our passed loved ones through meaningful rituals that foster connection and comfort us with love even after they are gone.

Find Peace and Experience Feelings of Well Being

During the holidays, an act of kindness can go a long way. Showing your support to seniors or family caregivers in any small way you can – whether it’s by offering help with cleaning and shopping tasks, sending a heartfelt message via phone call or mail, etc.– is invaluable. Additionally, make sure not to forget yourself – if depression sets in during this time of year due to loneliness or other factors allow yourself room for self-compassion first and foremost; let someone know how you feel without judgment so that they may understand why those holiday blues have set in!

Acknowledge how you're feeling and be gentle with yourself – laughter is always therapeutic!

Family Members Having a Holiday Party ?

Holiday Party

During the holidays, family caregivers should be aware of how excessive alcohol intake can affect their loved ones and themselves. Alcohol use in combination with certain medications or existing mental health conditions could have negative impacts on sleep patterns, moods and exacerbate other symptoms. A mental health professional will be available to help assess whether major depressive disorder or addiction may be a factor for your aging family member - even if they’re uncooperative; you still have treatment options that both parties can discuss together.

Holiday Blues and Importance of Self Care

Above all else though, don't forget the importance of self-care during this season: take time out for yourself whenever possible when things seem too overwhelming.

Taking care of yourself is extremely important, especially during the holidays. As a caregiver, it's easy to get overwhelmed with holiday stress and feel like your needs are secondary - but that shouldn't be the case! Allowing yourself some compassion can go a long way when it comes to self-care: set realistic expectations for how you choose to celebrate this season. If there are traditions or activities that used to bring comfort, now causes anxiety instead – don’t hesitate in altering those plans!

Professional help might also be an option if needed; mental health professionals have plenty of tools available should difficult emotion arise due to changing circumstances.

Seasonal Depression and the Emotional Toll

During the holidays, there are many ways in which we can support ourselves and our loved ones. By simplifying or cancelling festivities, cutting back on gift-giving and asking for help with shopping or outings - you'll be creating an opportunity to focus on self-care like a balanced diet, moderate exercise and plenty of sleep. Additionally it's beneficial to find calming activities such as reading meditating or gratitude journaling that will promote peace during this often very hectic season!