The winter season is upon us, and for many that means holiday celebrations filled with family and friends. As some of us anticipate those good times, 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 experience feelings of anxiety or depression during the holidays, 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.
Mercy Hospital Cassville Senior Life Solutions program can help. It’s 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. The program focuses on helping seniors navigate difficult life transitions and regain their quality of life not just during the holiday season, but year-round.
“Many of our seniors will be going through the holidays for the first time without a spouse or loved one and we don’t want them to isolate themselves,” said Katherine Setzer, director of Senior Life Solutions. “That can actually cause increased symptoms for their chronic health conditions.”
Here are some ways to 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 symptoms of the winter blues or a difficult life transition, contact Mercy Hospital Cassville Senior Life Solutions at 417-847-6042.