The holiday season invariably contributes to a higher stress level for most of us, simply because there is so much extra activity involved, and so many preparations to be made to accommodate visitors and extra family members. Knowing this beforehand, there are some steps you can take which your senior home care supporters urge you to consider so that you’ll survive the holidays without becoming totally frazzled and/or distraught. In Olive Branch and elsewhere around the country, many individuals will be taking these same steps to manage the stresses of the holiday season. However, these tips are excellent for any season or event where stress may be present.
Reach out to others
Whenever you have moments where you’re feeling lonesome or completely isolated, it’s a good idea to become involved with social events or to seek religious solace, or community with other people. It can make all the difference when someone can provide companionship and support for you at a moment when you happen to be feeling down.
Another good way to banish those thoughts of lonesomeness and isolation is to volunteer for some worthwhile activity in your neighborhood. This has a way of lifting your spirits, because you become so involved with others that you tend to forget yourself, and it might even lead to a couple of new friendships.
Regarding your friends and family, it might be very helpful if you can try to overlook the differences between you and them and focus more on the ways that you are like. It’s very possible that a number of your family and friends don’t really live up to your expectations, and you may not approve of them at all, but this is a good time to set aside those differences and be more accepting.
When those people around you get upset or distressed about things that are happening, try to be as understanding as possible, and maybe even try to help the situation. Keep in mind that it’s very possible the people you are surrounded by are also undergoing periods of high stress and are seeking ways to manage that stress.
Acknowledge your feelings
If there has been a recent death in the family, or if someone is critically ill, you should understand that it’s perfectly normal to feel grief and sadness in such a situation. It’s better to give vent to your feelings and have a good cry because this will relieve a great deal of your internal stress, and help you come to grips with the situation. You should feel no obligation whatsoever to try to force yourself to put on a happy face, just because it’s the holiday season. Allow your real feelings to be expressed, and you’ll feel a whole lot better about it afterward.
Be realistic about the holidays
Don’t expect that everything about the holiday season will be perfect and that everything will go just right. Each year, families change a little bit and traditions very often change right along with them. Of course, there are some traditions that are really worth holding onto, but you should accept the fact that some will be lost each year, and that some new ones will take their place.
One of the most obvious of these traditions is that your adult children may not be coming around to the house this year, and you should be realistic about sharing the season with them. It’s perfectly alright to find other ways to enjoy the holidays with your absent adult children, for instance by sharing videos, phone calls, and emails.
Say ‘no’ once in a while
You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to every activity at every event proposed by your family members. If you’re not feeling up to it, just say so, and don’t feel embarrassed or guilty about declining to participate. Your family and friends will understand if you’re not quite prepared to be involved in every single activity they come up with. This is much better than agreeing to go along with the crowd, and feeling tired or miserable while doing so. This will also just be another factor that adds up to your cumulative stress for the holiday season, and which makes you feel overwhelmed by it all.
Take time for yourself
Just 15 minutes spent alone with no distractions every now and then, might make you feel much better about the holidays and about participating in all the festivities. Whatever it is that helps reduce stress levels for you, take 15 minutes or a half-hour and involve yourself with that and nothing else. Maybe it’s getting a massage or reading a good book, or maybe it’s just listening to soft, quiet music that always puts you in a good mood.
Many people find that taking a walk alone around the neighborhood reduces their stress level and that the fresh air invigorates them, so they’re ready for whatever comes next. By observing a few of these recommendations, you should be able to cope with the stresses of the holiday season much better and emerge from it relatively sane.