As we approach what should be the happiest season of the year, many of us look toward to the holidays with dread. Depression in seniors runs rampant during this season. How can we survive alone? Here are some tips that might help.
• Create new traditions. Look for different ways to celebrate the upcoming occasions. If you have always cooked a turkey, try baking a ham. Tour a new neighborhood to explore the holiday lights and sounds. Do something entirely different, like attending a movie.
• Do not put yourself into uncomfortable situations. If you are invited to an event where everyone is with a partner, tell the host you have other plans. Being solo in a room of couples can make you feel terrible. However, if you think that you might have fun, go to the party. Somethimes the best medicine for loneliness is to be with friends. The choice is up to you. Do what feels right to you and don’t mind what other people think!
• Make new friends. Put yourself out there. You would be surprised how many other people are alone during the holidays and feel just as you do.
• Host your own event. It could be a potluck, pizza party, cookie-baking party or some other fun idea. If you are new to being single for whatever reason, it is probably the hardest thing you have ever done. You must now create a new “normal” for you. I am not saying that it’s easy, but we are often stronger than we think we are.
• Count on your faith. This time of year, remember all the good memories we had. Also think about the true meaning. It is not about buying the most costly gift or having the best-looking outfit to impress others. It is a time to count our blessings.
If you find yourself totally alone on any holiday and you are talking to yourself (as I often do), just remember what a great, smart person you are. It’s totally normal and relieves stress in some people.
I hope all of you get through the holidays and look forward to a great 2016.
The writer is the executive director of the Sidney-Shelby County Senior Center.