The Holidays are Upon Us
It’s the Holiday Season – a time to celebrate. Television movies and commercials depict parties, gift giving, hugs, shopping and happy families gathered around a table full of food, drinks and laughter.
Unfortunately for many, that’s not their reality. This time of year can trigger a myriad of emotions such as anxiety, sadness, dread, envy and loneliness. The feelings may stem from health issues, a memory of a loved one, financial pressures and social obligations, to name a few. It can be especially difficult for seniors. It is normal to feel a sense of loss especially around the holidays.
Children may become anxious and act out due to the commotion of the holiday season. Even though they are surrounded by others, residents of congregate settings such as assisted living or memory care may feel sadness due to missing familiar friends, families, traditions and “what used to be”.
Social Media may also contribute to the stress for those feeling “blue”. Images of others enjoying their holiday festivities can bring on feelings of envy, shame and being “left out”.
Managing Emotional Health
There are ways to manage your emotional health. Below are some suggestions:
- Identify your holiday triggers – people, places, or things that remind you of an upsetting event. Some examples are traumatic memories, strained relationships, loss of a loved one. It may be helpful to plan for some things that are enjoyable to you – like taking warm baths, going for walks, or watching TV shows or movies that are comforting.
- Be kind to yourself, just as you would to a friend who is “down”. It’s okay if you’re not feeling particularly merry or joyous this holiday season. Give yourself permission to have your emotions. At the same time, it’s important to work on ways to lighten your mood.
- Limit or take a break from social media. This may be more difficult than it sounds. It could be just what you need.
- Reach out to those you trust and make plans with friends who understand what you are experiencing.
For family and friends, check on those you know who may be struggling. Offer a “non-judgmental ear” – often listening is the greatest gift we can give to someone. Be mindful of loved ones or acquaintances who have experienced a loss, are dealing with health issues or other serious concerns. And finally, provide peace, comfort and joy where you can.