For many of us the holidays are a special time filled with family, friends, gifts, parties, and lots of wonderful food. However, Thanksgiving to New Year’s can be a painful time of year, especially for the lonely and isolated. Seeing others enjoying themselves with partners, siblings, children, and grandchildren can make them miss their own more.

Because of unrealistic expectations, loneliness, and stress, holiday (and even post-holiday) depression is common. According to the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people surveyed said their stress increased during the holiday season. Recently 64 percent of people with mental illness reported that holidays make their conditions worse—citing lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving, and family gatherings as reasons.

Holidays can be tense instead of heartwarming. We can feel overwhelmed, burdened by obligations, haunted by past mistakes, and tired. For those who believe they’re supposed to be happy and aren’t, the result is often sadness, illness, self-doubt, and substance abuse. Perhaps Senior Village can help with opportunities to beat the holiday blues.

What beats the blues? What works in one situation or for some individuals will not for others, so pick several useful coping strategies. Some are special Senior Village activities:

Remind yourself that feelings come AND go.

Keep in place the parts of your life that are working for you – good sleeping, exercise, eating, and work habits.

Be realistic and prioritize. Focus on what is highly important to you, and then give yourself permission to let go.

Surround yourself with supportive people, uplifting music, and the beauty of nature. Be inspired by books, sermons, and podcasts. Senior Village is offering a free Music Matinee at HOA2 on Thursday, December 22 at 11 a.m. featuring Dan Bergquist.

Spend time doing what brings you joy and remember that laughter is good medicine. Senior Village members can enjoy Senior Village Book Club meeting on Thursday, December 15 and Game Day on Tuesday, December 20.

Count your blessings. You’ll find more to be grateful for when you purposefully look for the good stuff. Plan for a table of friends to party at the annual Senior Village Beach Bash on Saturday, April 1, 2023. Positive plans help.

Compare your situation to those of others who are less (not more) fortunate.

Distract yourself by paying attention to others’ needs. Shift your focus away from yourself. Help your more senior neighbors prepare for the Senior Village Recycle event on Thursday, March 23 or bake a gift for someone.

Reach out and touch someone—with a hug, a smile, a home visit, or by volunteering to change a light bulb, assist with technology, or take someone to an appointment. There is so much you can do, so many ways to contribute. Helping them helps you feel better too.

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