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Senior to Senior: Holiday Blues

Sentimental movies, nostalgic songs, and a plethora of store decorations create the illusion that holidays are bigger than life. They are supposed to be of course, but as you grow older things tend to lose their luster. Role’s shift. Instead of participating in the hustle bustle you may be looking at it from the sidelines. It is not nearly as much fun as it used to be. The stress of trying to keep the holidays as “perfect” as you remember is over, or is it? There is a new kind of stress as you become an onlooker. Families have scattered and nearest and dearest are often gone forever. The probability that you will be spending the holidays alone is quite likely. The holidays season is often portrayed as a time of joy, togetherness, and celebration, but what happens when it is not? Thoughts of loss, failing health, and the past intrude. You are not alone if your family has shrunk to one or two, and all that you have left is the reminders of what you used to have. It doesn’t have to be. Try to step up, clear your mind, and think proactively. Common triggers for holiday depression can be avoided. Change your expectations about family gatherings, over commercialization, over committing, overspending, fatigue and stress. Try to remember the real reason for the celebration. There is no reason that you can’t enjoy the holidays. Change your mindset. Spend quality time with those who count. Celebrate with other people who don’t have family nearby. Focus on what truly matters. Practice self-care, especially when it comes to your emotional and spiritual self. Be honest with yourself about what you can handle and communicate your needs to others. You can sit alone and feel depressed, or you can channel the emotions of your losses by volunteering at a community shelter. Start a new tradition. Be around other people. Do something joyful even if it is just hanging a wreath on your door. Let others know that you want to be seen. and that you see them too. People who cope best are the ones that don’t isolate themselves.