A large number of Florida seniors may be familiar with the feeling of post-holiday blues. After all, many seniors look forward to holiday festivities like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years, and other celebrations for the entire year. So when the holiday season comes to an end, seniors may have trouble adjusting back to their ordinary routines and schedules – especially in the colder and darker months. Or, they may miss the excitement of the holidays and start to feel sad, lonely or even depressed.
If you find yourself feeling this way, know that you are not alone. In this article we discuss ways Florida seniors can cope with the feelings of the post-holiday blues.
What are the post-holiday blues?
Similar to post-vacation depression, the post-holiday blues are feelings of anxiety or sadness that hit after periods of great excitement, heightened emotions, demanding events, or even stress.
However, unlike clinical depression and more similar to seasonal affective disorder, the post-holiday blues are short-lived rather than long-term. The condition tends to persist for a few weeks after the holiday season. After that, many people start to feel their post-holiday blues fade away.
Even though the post-holiday blues are not permanent, it is still important for seniors to take these feelings seriously so they do not turn into more serious long-term mental health conditions.
What are signs of the post-holiday blues in seniors?
How can you determine if a senior loved one is experiencing the post-holiday blues? Here are some common signs to look out for:
Lack of motivation
Insomnia or interrupted sleep
A sense of loss
Tips for seniors to avoid the post-holiday blues
Loneliness and sadness after the holiday season are common feelings after the winter celebrations come to a close. These feelings can interfere with a senior’s daily routine and quality of life, making it hard to be productive, stay active, or interact with others.
Luckily, the post-holiday blues are temporary, and there are strategies to manage or prevent these feelings. Below are some suggestions for managing the post-holiday blues:
1. Make an effort to connect with others.
Socializing is one of the most important things a senior can do to improve their mental health and prevent loneliness and depression. As an added benefit, staying social also improves seniors’ cognitive function and physical well-being.
Think of some people in your life who have a positive outlook and are joyful to be around. Make an effort to call those people, meet up with them for coffee, or invite them over for dinner and games. Maybe even plan a trip to visit them if they live far away – this is a great way to have something positive to look forward to once the holidays are over. If traveling is not an option, there are plenty of tech devices available for seniors to connect with loved ones near and far.
Getting involved in the community is another way seniors can connect with others. In Florida, there are many different opportunities for seniors to meet people with similar interests and engage in meaningful social interactions.
One of the best ways to meet others is in senior living communities. For example, independent living and assisted living communities offer daily activities and opportunities to spend time with others and make connections with new friends.
2. Get out of the house.
Everyone can agree that sitting inside all day can feel unfulfilling and melancholy, especially during the months where the sun sets much earlier. That is why it is important to try to leave the house – even just for a few minutes – to change your environment and experience the outside world. Walk around the block, wave to your neighbors, experience nature, or just get some fresh air. Visit Florida’s beautiful waterfronts, walk on the beach, or just and relax in the tropical atmosphere. Getting out of the house is guaranteed to improve your mood, even if just a little.
3. Get in some exercise
The holiday season often alters people’s routines, including their exercise regimen. But, staying physically active is paramount for not just seniors’ physical health, but also their mental health. In fact, studies have shown that seniors who engage in physical activity experienced a 30% decrease in depression symptoms.
When the holidays are over, try to return to your normal fitness routine, or make a plan to start being more active. Some popular types of exercise for seniors include walking, jogging, playing pickleball, swimming, aerobics, resistance training, yoga, and lifting weights.
Don’t be afraid to start small – even just a 10 minute workout can be effective, and any movement is better than nothing. Enlist a workout buddy or accountability partner if that helps you stay motivated.
Click here to read more senior fitness ideas and resources.
4. Get enough sleep
Sleep is a major factor that can affect our mood and mental health. According to the NHLBI, sleep deficiency may lead to feelings of depression and cause difficulty with decision making, problem solving, controlling emotions and behavior, and coping with change.
So, seniors should make sure they are getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night to prevent these side effects of sleep deprivation.
5. Follow a balanced diet
They say you are what you eat. As it relates to mental health, this phrase proves to be true. According to Sutter Health, highly-processed and/or sugary foods can cause inflammation in the body and brain, which may contribute to mood disorders like anxiety and depression.
On the other hand, a diet filled with nutrients and whole foods can actually lead to improved mental health and brain function. Foods like fruits, vegetables, salmon, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and legumes are great choices to help boost your mood, think clearly, and improve your overall well-being.
6. Be patient with yourself
When you are feeling down, remind yourself that the post-holiday blues won’t last forever. Try to go easy on yourself and remember these feelings are temporary. By following these tips, you’ll be able to manage them more effectively.
When to seek professional help
If you find your post-holiday blues persist well beyond the holiday season and are interfering with your everyday life, it might be time to seek help from a professional. Talk to your doctor or a mental health specialist to make a plan.
Need more senior guidance?
At Florida Senior Consulting, we understand that quality of life is one of the main goals for most seniors.
As a Florida-based company with expert knowledge of the Florida senior market, we help seniors and their families find the best care possible to live a healthy life.
We have certified staff, licensed nurse advocates, and decades of experience in the field. Plus, 100% of our employees are Certified Dementia Practitioners.
If you have any questions about senior lifestyle, assisted living, independent living, or memory care, Florida Senior Consulting will be your trusted guide.