You don’t have to be sad when the holidays are over. Here are some tips to help you make a smooth transition back into your normal routine.
The holidays are a hectic and often stressful time, between buying presents and decorations, preparing huge meals, and hosting/attending family gatherings, most people don’t have time to think about anything other than “What am I going to get Uncle Fred for Christmas?” or “Is Grandma June going to like my holiday ham?” Yet when the decorations are packed away and the leftovers are in the freezer, a sense of relief can be replaced with feelings of depression, especially for seniors.
According to the American Geriatrics Society, older adults are more likely to have difficulty with post-holiday blues, as they are often hit with feelings of sadness and loneliness once the family visits stop. “It’s natural for people to have a letdown after the holidays, but seniors can be especially exhausted from traveling or from hosting family gatherings,” says Brenda Lyle, Aging Services Manager at One Senior Place in Altamonte Springs. “And if they’re around a lot of family members and friends for the holidays, being alone again afterwards can represent a difficult adjustment.”
Many healthcare professionals suggest that although it may be difficult to make plans to attend events and socialize if one is feeling blue, this is the time when reaching out matters most. Even a small get together can contribute to a happier outlook as the new year begins. Seniors can also benefit from talking about their post-holiday feelings with friends or trusted caretakers.
According to Healthline.com, there are several things seniors can do to beat the post-holiday blues:
- Plan a getaway in February or March, especially someplace warm, if possible. It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive trip to keep your spirits up and looking forward.
- Make a plan to learn something new. It can be anything from yoga exercises you can do in a chair to learning about the computer.
- Work with family members to create visible memories of the holiday season. Collecting favorite photos and cards and telling stories about the photos is not only entertaining, but preserves the history of a family.
- Consider taking decorations down slowly rather than all at once. Leave a wreath on the door or garland along a banister.
The American Geriatric Society Foundation for Health in Aging also recommends volunteering as a way to ease the post-holiday blues. The organization suggests calling the United Way or your place of worship to learn about others who need help. You don’t need to make a long-term, formal commitment to have a positive impact.
“The most important thing is that family members and caregivers realize that seniors are more vulnerable to feelings of depression and isolation after the holidays,” says Lyle, “and they should make efforts to spend time with them and keep them busy with fun activities such as going out to dinner, going to a movie or just being around family and friends.”
Sometimes all the excitement of the holidays simply masks the feelings of depression already being felt. If you or someone you love is experiencing difficulty thinking or concentrating, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, severe fatigue or loss of energy, or the inability to sleep/excessive sleeping, this may warrant treatment by a doctor or counselor.
“In the end, being aware of how you feel and simply doing things that make you feel happy can go a long way in combating the post-holiday blues,” says Lyle. “Exercise, feed your spirit, watch a funny movie, stay connected as best you can … all of these things will help you make the transition from the hectic holidays back to your normal routines.”
One Senior Place is a one-stop resource and information marketplace. Completely unique, One Senior Place provides information, counseling, referrals, educational events and direct access to independent senior-focused businesses– all under one roof! To schedule a free consultation with an Aging Services Expert call 866-706-9386.