The holiday season is upon us, which for many means celebrations filled with family and friends. This builds anticipation for those good times; however, for others this time of year can be a reminder of lost loved ones, lack of access to family traditions, or other changes that may bring about stress and anxiety.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, many people can experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holiday season, and people who already live with a mental health condition should take extra care to tend to their overall health and wellness. A recent survey showed that 64% of people with a diagnosed mental illness report that the holidays make their symptoms worse.
Fayette County Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults, typically ages 65 and older, struggling with depression and anxiety often related to aging. They focus on helping seniors in the community navigate difficult life transitions and regain their quality of life, not just during the holiday season, but year-round.
Program director, Angela Mellott, RN, said “It is normal to feel down some days, but if that feeling becomes prolonged, it is time to talk to your doctor. Seasonal sadness may also occur during other periods in the year, and we are here to help our patients and their families navigate this year-round.”
Below is a list of suggestions that may help counteract the holiday blues:
• Get enough sleep or rest
• Spend time with supportive people
• Don’t drink alcohol if you are feeling down
• Take walks
• Don’t isolate yourself
• Forget perfection
• It’s okay to say no
• Stay within budget
• Set reasonable expectations
• Do something you enjoy
• Enjoy all the wonderful food, but don’t binge
• Invite someone who lives alone to dinner
• Celebrate a loved one’s life by sharing positive memories
• Forgive yourself, we all make mistakes
For some, the holidays can bring on temporary depression, and for others it may be chronic. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or a difficult life transition, contact Fayette County Memorial Hospital’s Senior Life Solutions program at 740-333-2226.