The holiday season is a time of good cheer and togetherness. An opportunity for families to share warmth and good food during the darkest months of the year. Between geographical distance and busy work schedules, the holidays are often the only opportunity for families to get together. For seniors living alone, this might be one of the few times they get to visit with children and grandchildren. But as lovely as these reunions are, what about the aftermath? As relatives return to their homes and resume their lives, seniors are often left feeling even more isolated and alone. And for seniors spending the holidays alone, the year’s end can be a grueling time that leaves them exhausted. So how can seniors best cope with post-holiday loneliness?
Seniors Often Deal With Seasonal Stress
Holiday stress and depression affect people of all age groups, but seniors can be especially vulnerable. The societal pressure to be constantly joyful during the holiday season can make moments of sadness or disappointment more stark. Since the holidays are typically a time to spend with family and close friends, seniors may find themselves lingering on memories of loved ones who have since passed away. Paired with the forceful messaging that the end of the year is a time to be happy and grateful, the contrast of expectations with the sadder reality can make seniors feel even more isolated as they grieve.
Financial stress is also a common cause of Christmastime tension. Many advertisers take advantage of the holidays to push the idea that bigger, fancier, expensive presents are the best way to express your love. No matter how we make ourselves aware of these marketing techniques, it’s almost impossible to shake the deeply ingrained cultural idea that spending more money on a gift makes it inherently more thoughtful. Seniors might feel like they’re inadequate because they can’t afford expensive gifts. Or, if they splurge on presents in December, they’re faced with a tight post-holiday financial situation.
How To Cope With Depression After The Holidays
No matter the root cause of unhappy feelings during the holiday season, the fact is that we all experience them. But rather than letting a rough holiday ruin the start of the new year, there are many ways to address your post-holiday loneliness to make the most of the months to come.
Honor Your Feelings
The expectation of holiday cheer can sometimes make it feel like seniors aren’t allowed to be sad during the holidays. This can make the emotional crash in the aftermath even more devastating, as all those pent-up negative emotions suddenly jockey to be acknowledged. It can be tempting to continue trying to shut down your feelings and aggressively focus on the positives. But this almost always ends up backfiring.
Ignoring sadness or grief is not only emotionally unhealthy, it can also lead to negative physical side-effects as well. “Bottling it up” can raise your blood pressure, impact your memory, and even harm your self-esteem, all while causing those negative emotions to get stronger. So as counter-intuitive as it may feel, the best way to cope with post-holiday sadness is to let yourself feel it. Acknowledge your feelings, allow them to pass through you, and you’ll often find that you’re able to move on.
Destress and Decompress
While the holidays can be a joyful time of year, they’re usually overwhelming as well. Though the quiet in the aftermath may sometimes feel lonely, it can also provide a welcome respite from the previous hectic pace. This January, why not take some time for a bit of self-care? Focus on taking time to do the things you enjoy, whether it’s a favorite TV show you’ve been meaning to catch up on, eating your favorite meals that picky grandkids don’t like, and enjoying some peace and quiet. Redefining the time to yourself as a positive thing can help stave off the post-holiday blues.
Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out
Loneliness is an insidious thing. It makes us feel like there’s nothing we can do to help ourselves, to staunch the feelings of isolation or even abandonment that come when we feel alone. But one of the most important things to remember post-holidays is that often enough, the best way to get help is simply by asking for it. Whether you’re reaching out to a friend, family member, caregiver, or therapist, an honest, open connection about the struggles you’re facing is the key to moving past them. It can help to acknowledge that asking for help or comfort is a vulnerable act. Recognizing this makes the process both more difficult and more rewarding.
Caregivers Can Help
In such a difficult and emotional time, it can make a huge difference to know there’s someone in your life who isn’t simply home for the holidays. A caregiver can be a lasting pillar of support in a senior’s life. One who provides emotional and physical support during and after the holidays. Amid these difficult times of the year, it can help to have a person standing by who’s there to help you when you need it most.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.