Senior Living Q & A: Getting past the Holiday blues

Q. The holidays are coming and instead of feeling cheer, I feel exhausted and overwhelmed with a sense of dread. Can you give me some insight?

It’s called the Holiday Blues, and you’re not alone.

The condition can flow from many roots, with some of the more common ones being fatigue, unrealistic expectations, financial issues, and maybe the inability to be with loved ones. Then there’s shopping, parties and maybe houseguests for the holidays.

With all that, many can develop symptoms like headaches, drinking and eating too much, insomnia, anxiety and guilt.

Many are haunted by memories of holidays past, and their inability to reproduce those wonderful memories.

The fix: Be realistic about what you can really do, and forget about notions of shopping until you drop, partying all night long, and staying up late to wrap presents.

Sometimes, too, memories of deceased relatives can make you sad. The living ones, too, can be stressful if you have strained relationships with them.

So, what can you do about it? Try doing something for someone else, which takes the focus off you and your problems, and can add meaning to your holiday.

Other possible remedies:

Don’t do everything yourself. Delegating makes things more manageable.

Find some time for yourself amid all the social activities. It will help you recharge your batteries.

If the holidays aren’t what they used to be, just don’t dwell on the good old days. Instead, recognize that life changes.

Avoid drinking too much. It will only make you feel more depressed.

Avoid putting pressure on yourself to be the best and stop worrying about maybe being the worst. You are what you are.

Keep up your exercise routine.

Eat right, maintain a healthy diet.

Come to a meeting today (Dec.15) at noon at the YMCA to meet with other like-minded individuals. We will be sharing holiday memories, finding ways to find peace in the holidays and having refreshments.

NANCY TURNEY received a bachelor's degree in social work and a certificate in gerontology. If you have a specific question you would like answered in this column, email it to or call Turney at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, (818) 790-0123, ext. 225.

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