Type to search

Coping with the holidays


By Nicole Long, MSW, LICSW

For many people, the holiday season is a happy and joyous time. For others, it’s a stressful time.  The emphasis on shopping, entertaining and family gatherings (to name just a few things) can be overwhelming.
Here are some practical tips to help minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays:

  • Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend. Then, stick to your budget.
  • Discuss gift giving with your family and friends. Some families only give presents to the children; others pick names out of a hat.
  • Shopping malls, grocery stores and parking lots tend to be crowded and can become stressful. Try to arrive before the stores open. Make a list of who you need to buy a gift for with suggestions of what to buy them. Don’t wait until the last minute to shop.
  • Eat healthy, exercise and get enough sleep. Remember to make some time for yourself.
  • If you feel lonely or isolated, reach out to others. Contact local clubs, religious groups or community centers. They can offer support and companionship. Consider volunteering in your community. Helping others is a good way to lift your spirits and feel good about yourself.
  • Family gatherings can be stressful. As families change and grow, traditions often change. Choose a few to hold on to, and be open to creating new ones. For example, if your adult children can’t come to your house, find new ways to celebrate together, such as sharing pictures, emails, or videos or using Skype. You could always get together before or after the holidays.

For some, holidays are a time for reflection. Empty nesters, older adults and individuals who are grieving, may be particularly vulnerable to feelings of loneliness. This is normal, but try not to let this spoil your holidays. Stay busy, and consider reconnecting with old friends, especially those who are supportive, caring and have a positive outlook.

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. The holidays don’t have to be stressful. You can find peace and joy during the holidays if you put in the effort.

About the Author
Nicole Long is the Chief Executive Officer of Old Colony Elder Services (OCES). Founded in 1974, OCES is a private, non-profit organization proudly serving greater Plymouth County and surrounding communities. OCES is designated as one of 26 Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. OCES’ mission is to support the independence and dignity of elders and people with disabilities by providing essential information and services that promote healthy and safe living. The agency offers a number of programs to serve seniors, individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers. For more information call 508-584-1561 or visit www.ocesma.org
Reprinted from the December 2018 edition of the South Shore Senior News.