Helping Your Loved One with Post-Holiday BluesDecember 30, 2022
The holiday season is two months of light, love, and happiness. Time is spent hopping between events with family and friends, decorating for the season, and shopping for gifts. While running about is at times tiring, most of one’s days throughout the holiday season ends with memories of great fun.
For some, there is a moment of relief when the holiday season comes to a close. Their multitude of celebrations finally end, and they can return to life as-is. For many, however, taking down their decorations and resuming their normal schedules can be an unfortunate, depressing affair. This is known as the post-holiday blues, and it can be a problem for seniors in particular. Helping your loved one with post-holiday blues may be simpler than you think.
What is the post-holiday blues?
Post-holiday blues, or post-vacation syndrome, is a condition that one experiences following a period of intense emotions and stress. While this could happen any time of the year, it is especially prevalent following the holiday season. This is likely due to the abrupt withdrawal from adrenaline and stress hormones following a magic event.
It shares many characteristics with mood disorders like depression or anxiety, including low energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and insomnia. Many seniors find these feelings exacerbated when their family goes away following the holiday and the fun times have come to an end. Unlike depression and anxiety, however, these symptoms are usually short-term.
What does depression look like?
Depression can differ between individuals, but the main things to be mindful of are changes in your loved one’s personality, social activity, and physical wellness. These changes can manifest in:
- Not maintaining one’s physical hygiene (bathing, brushing teeth, getting dressed)
- Sleeping too much, or difficulty falling asleep
- Slowed thinking and concentrating
- Persistent negative feelings (sadness, irritability, worry, helplessness)
- Changes in weight
- Pulling back socially
- Disinterest in what they once enjoyed
If your loved one seems to behave differently following the holidays, they may be experiencing post-holiday depression. And while the best thing to do for them is to seek the help of a professional, there are some things you can do to help your loved one overcome their post-holiday blues.
How to help your loved one with post-holiday blues
Try not to let the New Year start on a negative note. If your loved one is feeling low following the holiday season, encourage these practices.
Though self-care certainly includes personal hygiene, diet, and exercise, it is so much more than that. Self-care includes taking the proper steps to ensure one’s mental health is taken care of. This means taking time for oneself to do what makes one happy.
In addition to encouraging your loved one to stay on top of their physical health, encourage them to partake in their favorite hobbies, spend time with friends, and treat themselves as appropriate.
Write in a gratitude journal
When we’re in a dark spot, it’s easy for those thoughts to totally consume our minds. A gratitude journal can help seniors pull themselves out of these pits by instead focusing on the good that they have in their life.
A gratitude journal doesn’t have to be full of massive experiences in one’s life. Some days it might include something like “the support of my best friend.” On other days, it may be “a really good cup of coffee” or “a new pair of shoes.” Anything added to this list is valid. Chances are, as time goes on, your loved one will realize they have more to be thankful for than they thought.
Keep connected with friends and family
One of the best parts about the holiday season is seeing friends and family we don’t get the chance to see the rest of the year. It is sad when the season ends and everyone heads home for another year.
Encourage your loved one to keep in contact with their distant friends and family. Texting or chatting on social media can help, but calling or video chatting makes a major difference. If they’re not sure how to set up one of these calls, walk them through the process. It may take a few times before they can do it on their own, but it will be greatly beneficial to their mood.
Enjoy the great outdoors
Your loved one may have the impulse to hunker down inside due to the cold, but that might be contributing to their post-holiday blues. Spending time outdoors has been shown to increase vitamin D, boost one’s immune system, improve memory, and even improve mood. So, help them bundle up and get outside.
Enjoying the great outdoors has the added benefit of promoting exercise. Even 15-minute walks can have a major impact on one’s overall physical and mental health.
Find companionship in an at-home caregiver
Mental health goes hand-in-hand with loneliness. Seniors in particular are susceptible to feelings of loneliness, as it can be difficult for them to get out of the home and meet with friends and family. Loneliness not only has serious implications on one’s depression and cognition, but one’s physical health.
An at-home caregiver offers so much more than assistance with personal care. This professional acts as a companion for your elderly loved one. At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff offers your loved one thoughtful, compassionate conversation. They will gladly partake in any activities your loved one enjoys—from board games, to taking walks, to watching movies.
If your loved one would benefit from companion care and other support around the home, Home Care Powered by AUAF can help. Call us at 773-274-9262 for more information.
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