It’s never easy to be alone during the holidays, and it can be especially tough if you’re older and facing issues like limited mobility or financial stresses. It’s so important to remember that you are valuable and you are loved, and there are so many ways to keep this at the top of your mind this holiday season.
Do Things for Your Own Joy
Spending a holiday alone can be difficult, but one thing that might help is remembering all the joy and love in your life. Take out old pictures of your favorite people and your favorite moments and make them present in your home. Play your favorite music around the house or light a candle that you love to make your space truly feel like you. Just because you’re alone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do fun things; on the contrary, it’s all the more reason to decorate, play music, or make a tasty meal.
To me, rereading a book can feel like a vacation or a visit from an old friend; it’s one of the ways I like to pass alone time and it helps me feel connected both to the past and to my own imagination. If you have a quiet moment, try taking one of your favorite books off of the shelf and spend an afternoon enjoying the company of your favorite author.
If you’re feeling cooped up or limited in options, a driving service can even help you get out and about so you don’t need to depend on others to do chores or enjoy a local site.
Remember Your Favorite Holiday Traditions
If you’re alone, the holidays can lead many to think of the things (or loved ones) that are absent, but you can also focus on the aspects of the holiday that you’ve always loved, especially the things that emphasize your connections to others. Keep up your Christmas card list, bake your favorite recipe or even do a baking exchange with your loved ones, and make your house look the way you want, whether this involves decking it out or just displaying a few of your favorite decorations that have good memories attached to them.
Budget to Avoid Stress
If your finances have a tendency to get stressful this time of year, you’re not alone. The holidays leave many people feeling stressed about meeting expectations, especially if it feels like you have to figure everything out on your own. Making a list of people to get gifts for can get stressful fast, but remember that what your loved ones care about the most is the relationship you share, not what you can buy them. Make sure to budget ahead of time, and think of homemade gifts you can get for people that will mean more to them than something store bought.
Keep up With Loved Ones
Keeping up with new technology can be intimidating, but especially this year there are so many tools that can keep you connected with the people who matter the most. Zoom, Skype, and Facetime can all allow you to feel like you’re in the room with everyone who matters to you even when you can’t be together physically. There are free tutorials online for every video chat software, from Skype to Zoom, that can help you feel less alone during the holidays. Taking a few minutes to get to know these services, or having a loved one walk you through them, is a small investment that can help you stay in touch with your loved ones all holiday long.
Be sure to share things with your loved ones in whatever capacity works this year, whether it’s stories, your favorite recipes, old photos, or simply your time. Remember that you’re a valuable member of your family and your community with lots to offer.
Get Moving However You Can
Moving around is always a great way to feel happier and more upbeat, no matter what activity level you feel up to. Whether you do a home workout, a walk around the block, some simple stretching or just some mindful breathing, there’s a way for you to engage with your body and feel better on the inside. The holidays can be difficult and giving yourself a way to feel good, healthy and strong will help you to thrive.
Make Your Mental Wellness A Priority
Isolation during the holidays can take its toll, and it’s important to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. Caring Senior Service says that seniors are more likely to suffer from depression, but less likely to seek help for it. Make sure to lean on your loved ones and communities when you need it; they’re there for you. If you belong to a church, check to see if they provide counseling or one-on-one care; this can be a great resource and a service that really can give you the relief and support you deserve. Remember that you matter, you are loved, and that you’re never truly alone this holiday season.
No matter how your holidays look this year, there are so many ways to generate joy and cheer and have a good time even if you’re on your own for part or all of the season. Isolation is always a challenge, particularly for seniors, and if you’re struggling this year, you’re not alone. Whether it’s getting up to speed on a video chatting app, spending a few hours with your favorite memories, creating homemade gifts for your loved ones in other households or simply staying connected in your church or community, there are so many options to bring you support and happiness this holiday season.