Feeling down this holiday season? Help is available

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Christmas is a favorite time of year for most of us, but for others, the holidays can be a real struggle.

If you’ve lost a loved one, face financial or health issues in yourself or loved ones, cheery music and television specials can make you feel especially alone and hopeless.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the holidays are especially hard on people with a diagnosed mental illness, 64% of them reporting their symptoms are worse this time of year.

“A Hallmark holiday is not realistic for everyone, which can cause increased stress and disappointment for many people this time of the year,” said Wendy Shifflet, program therapist for the Tri Valley Health System Senior Life Solutions.

The program is an intensive outpatient group therapy program for older adults struggling with depression and anxiety, often related to aging. It focuses on helping seniors navigate difficult life transitions and regain quality of life year-round.

But experts offer advice for those of any age that might have 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 OK 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

• Volunteer

• Celebrate a loved one’s life by sharing positive memories

• Forgive yourself, we all make mistakes

If you want to help lift a senior’s holiday spirits, consider volunteering for jobs like:

• Decorating the home

• Shopping for gifts in stores and online

• Wrapping gifts

• Writing and sending holiday cards

If you or someone you know seems to be experiencing the holiday blues or worse, contact Tri Valley at 308-697-1299 or visit www.psychmc.com/seniorlifesolutions for more information on the program.

Or, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit NAMI Nebraska at naminebraska.org

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: