While the holiday season is associated with joy, family fun and giving thanks, it’s common for seniors to deal with sadness, stress and fatigue during this time.
To help seniors cope with hard feelings, Bella Vida is hosting a Holiday Blues information presentation with Etta Martin, Bella Vida mental health specialist and licensed clinical social worker, on Wednesday from 1 to 2 p.m. on the second floor of the building.
This time of year can be difficult if someone loses a loved one or they do not have family and friends to spend the holidays with. Feelings of loneliness and isolation are common, so this event is aimed to help seniors avoid damping emotions and to provide caregivers with tips on assisting those going through a difficult time.
Although most people have feelings of happiness and affection during the holidays, feelings of sadness and stress can accompany positive emotions, according to a report done by the American Psychological Association in 2017.
During the presentation, those willing will have the opportunity to share personal experiences and offer others mental and moral support. Those who are timid about sharing personal experiences can come to listen, but Martin encourages participation because it can lead to a better support group experience.
“Sometimes you find that your family and friends do not fully understand what you are going through,” said Martin in a newsletter. “You may find it helpful to turn to those outside your immediate circle.”
Some tips to beat the holiday blues include skipping the typical holiday portrayal. Holiday ideals and advertisements can put pressure of expectations on the average person. It’s best to ignore notions of a “perfect holiday season.”
Instead, partake in activities such as crafts, hobbies and listening to music, which can give a person a break from holiday pressure.
Exercising is an effective way to alleviate stress, and boost a person’s mood, well-being and self-esteem, according to the American Society for Exercise Physiologists.
Along with exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, which includes high-fiber foods, fruits, vegetables and plenty of water can help stabilize cravings for comfort food. Avoid sugary sweets, caffeine and alcohol.
Adults should get between seven to eight hours of sleep per night to help reduce stress, according to the APA. Sleep deprivation can affect judgment and mood, so having a bedtime routine and sticking to it is crucial to stress reduction.
The tips and advice will help empower seniors, improve coping skills and improve sense of adjustment, said Martin.
Martin also leads the weekly emotional support group and grief and loss support group at the senior center.
The emotional support group meets 10-11 a.m. while the grief and loss support group meets 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays on the second floor of Bella Vida.
For more information on support groups at Bella Vida, visit their website at https://myscvcoa.org or call 661-259-9444.
Metro Creative contributed to this report.