Depression can hit everyone at some point in their lifetime. Whether you are a child, adult, or in the latter stages of your life, you can fall prey to natural feelings of depression, especially during the holidays. In fact, many people often don’t think that individuals who are older really experience depression as much as others; but the reality is that even though we age, we still have access to the same thoughts, feelings, experiences and emotions we had when younger. The age of an individual should not be a factor when it comes to dealing with feelings of sadness.
So what exactly should a senior do, when they are experiencing the holiday blues? Sometimes these feelings can hit us out of nowhere when we are least prepared for it; so let’s examine some helpful ways to deal with this occasionally difficult time of the year.
As we age, we tend to put more emphasis on positive memories and experiences that have occurred in the past. Because of this, it is important to note that not every holiday celebration will provide you with the same exact experience as the past. Even if you repeat every aspect of it in exactly the same way, it will likely not end up being exactly as you remembered in the past. Putting too much emphasis on trying to experience things in the same way can often lead to a letdown; instead, take the opportunity to make new memories with friends and family, and to enjoy the holiday seasons as it unfolds.
Another way to avoid the holiday blues is to make sure that you plan as much as you can in advance. Rushing around last-minute and trying to get together during the holidays can make things fairly strenuous; having the time to plan everything out can really help to cut down on one’s stress levels. Time is an important factor, as this time of the year is a whirlwind with everyone’s schedules and preparing for celebrations together. Give yourself enough time to accomplish everything, and you’ll likely feel much better about the season.
Health is another important factor to consider, and it is a topic that should be at the forefront during this season. Because of the number of holiday parties, get-togethers and assorted foods that are generally associated with each holiday, it can become quite easy to eat unhealthy foods, drink too much alcohol and altogether fall away from our normal routines that we work so hard for each and every day of the year. Try to limit your exposure to alcohol and make sure to still eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and add necessary doses of vitamins to ensure your health stays great.
Exercise combined with your traditional daily routines can also be a great way to combat the holiday blues. Try to set aside 15 minutes a day for stretching, light aerobics and some light lifting, or for most seniors what you are able to reasonably handle. Here is a great video for some low-impact exercises specifically geared towards older men and women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fpIva72q_k
In addition, sticking to your daily routines as much as possible can provide the benefits of peace and having a daily schedule to rely on as a platform. When the body and the mind work together, you will be able to avoid anxiety, stress and depression that much easier.
These tips serve as a guideline for how to avoid the holiday blues; however, if you have been experiencing persistent feelings of depression, anxiety or sadness for a longer period of time, such as two or three weeks, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for a checkup.