By Helen Hunter,
Every year, the media bombards us with advertisements showing the “happy family” gathering for the holidays. People from different generations are together, having a wonderful time, sharing traditions of old and creating new ones as well.
It is not that way, though, for a great number of individuals. For those who don’t have families of their own, or for those who live alone and have relatives living far away, holidays often bring heartbreak and depression. Those who have been used to family celebrations in the past and no longer have that to look forward to cannot accept the “change” in the tradition, especially if they keep hearing about others who are getting together with their own families.
There are two things to remember that can help get you through the holidays. The first thing to realize is that it is okay to cry. This can be a tough time for many. It is natural to feel depressed when your friends are having the ideal family gathering. Allow yourself to express your inner feelings.
The second thing to remember is to control the holidays, do not let them control you. This requires planning. If you know that you will be alone on the holiday, start planning ahead for what you will do. Here are some suggestions for things you can do to sidestep the holiday blues:
Be gentle to yourself, especially if you have recently lost a loved one. If you do not feel like celebrating, don’t! If you do wish to celebrate, keep it simple. Remember the TRUE reason that we celebrate the holidays!
The important point to remember here is that if the old traditions cause heartbreak and depression, change the tradition – start a new one!
Also, be sure to review your expectations and be realistic. Not everyone is jolly, generous and loving all through the holiday season. As Wayne A. Van Kampen from the Bethesda PsycHealth Reporter wrote, “ Somehow (during the holidays) persons feel pushed into hiding, covering over, or denying the reality of sadness, fear and tension. Perhaps what is needed most is simply a more honest embracing of ourselves, others, and the realities of life.” Not everyone will have a happy family gathering just because it is the holiday season. Old resentments are likely to resurface, no matter how hard we try, when people are thrown together for an extended period.
In addition, there are a number of strategies that can be used in planning the holiday celebration.
These strategies include the following:
Make the holiday season a time for you and your loved ones to have fun and to share special memories. When the entire season is over, sit down, relax and count your blessings. Remind yourself as to how lucky you are. When you make an effort to have a joyous, stress-free holiday, you can avoid the stress. The key is to plan ahead, and to ask for and accept help from others.
Raleigh Geriatric Care Management www.rgcmgmt.com
November 17, 2014 · 11:02 PM