For most people, the holidays are a time of family gatherings, friends and happiness. Calendars are stacked full with shopping, parties and celebrations. But for some, this time of year can be just the opposite.
Holidays can be a source of the blues thinking about the loss of a loved one, the passing of time, poor health, chronic pain or concerns about money. All of these sad thoughts make it hard to enjoy the holidays. In fact, these feelings can lead to loneliness, sadness or depression, at a time when you least expect it.
Here are a few tips to help cope with the holiday blues.
- Adjust your holiday expectations – Not every holiday will be same and be open to creating new traditions.
- Don’t be alone – Ask for help traveling to parties, social and religious events.
- Pamper yourself – Use the holidays as an excuse to do something for you, like a spa day.
- Mark your calendar – Stick to your wellness routine of exercise, healthy eating and getting plenty of sleep.
- Drink responsibly – Don’t over indulge during the holidays because too much alcohol can make one feel more depressed.
- Accept your feelings – If you have lost a loved one, recognize your feelings of sadness and grief as being normal.
- Talk about your situation – Don’t isolate yourself, but talk with friends, family or clergy about your feelings.
Holiday blues are mild and should only be temporary, but depression is serious and lasting. Signs of depression are sadness that won’t lift, frequent crying, feeling restless, decreased energy, fatigue or trouble concentrating. Recognize the signs and take action. If you or your loved one feels the situation is more than just holiday blues, talk to your healthcare provider. Remember, depression is not only common, but it’s also treatable.
** Information provided by the Health in Aging Foundation, 11/2015