Everyone says the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of year. Are they joyous for you? For some people, it really is a magical time. But many others cope with depression during the holidays.
Unfortunately for many people, particularly seniors, dread, sadness, and loneliness are experienced. Depression during the holiday season is common, especially for the elderly.
According to Adam K. Anderson, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, the media makes it hard for people because they tell people they should be happy. It can be hard to feel joy when life is difficult, especially when you’ve lost very special people in your life that you shared the holidays with year after year.
Ways to Cope with Depression During the Holidays
With everyone busy around you, it can be difficult to look back and remember a life you now miss. You miss the children, your spouse, friends and family members who are no longer near you. All these memories, as good as they are, may bring sadness.
What you’re feeling is normal. You are not the only one feeling depressed and lonely. There are ways to feel better.
- Talk about it. Getting feelings out can help you let things go. Crying is okay. It’s therapeutic. Special memories deserve emotions because they are unique. Talk through them. Share them with others who will appreciate your past happiness.
- Write about it. Capture memories on paper. Write about all of those holiday seasons you spent with your loved ones. What do you remember that means the most to you? Writing all of those thoughts and feelings down will help you release them. Future generations will love to read about them and imagine what it must have been like to be there with you.
- Spend time with loved ones. As much as you want to isolate yourself, don’t do it. You will likely feel worse when you spend the holidays by yourself. If you are unable to see family members, try creating new memories with neighbors and friends.
- Celebrate the season. Find ways to celebrate the season. Make handmade gifts, decorate, and attend holiday parties. Don’t try to push these things away because they bring back memories. Embrace this time, so you can share in the delight with others.
- Take care of yourself. It can be difficult to get out of bed, eat well, and engage with others when you’re feeling depressed. But you need to do it for your own good health. Force yourself out of bed, take a shower, eat as much as you can, and make plans. As much as you may not want to, you will likely feel better at the end of the day.
The holidays can be a struggle, but support is available. Connect with a personal counselor if you need help getting through a difficult time. Then, your memories will be listened to and motivation for improvement will be provided. Reach out today to schedule a session.
Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.