What is Holiday Blues Syndrome? How Can we Cope With it?

By  //  December 18, 2021

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The Holiday Blues sometimes invades our grandparents. It is up to us that they have the best time as a family. For most, the Christmas season is a time of joy, excitement and family rejoicing, but we should not assume that our relatives who are older adults experience the same thing.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2018/dec/15/holiday-stress-christmas-mental-health-stats

Many of them will, but we must pay special attention to those who do not fully enjoy the holidays.

There is a “syndrome” called “Holiday Blues” that could be translated as “Christmas nostalgia or depression”; It is a deep sadness caused by all the events related, in this case, with Christmas and the New Year. While it is true, this can be suffered by people of any age, there is a higher incidence among older adults, as confirmed by the American Geriatrics Society.

The holidays can bring back memories of times past when they enjoyed the company of relatives who have left this world and this generates a very particular nostalgia, often difficult to express, for fear of not being understood by the youngest members of the family.

The lack of economic income that an elderly person experiences in relation to an economically active person also produces feelings of sadness, because they cannot buy gifts for their grandchildren or children, or to receive the family “as before” at home, with a special dinner. paid for and prepared by them.

Finally, health problems are a reminder of the “weight” of the years, which does not allow the elderly to fully enjoy the holidays.

In certain cases, where old age has not been accepted as valuable to the family, the elderly are isolated from celebrations and loneliness, which is the most serious disease of the elderly: it afflicts the soul.

What can we do as a family to prevent this nostalgia from invading the hearts of our parents and grandparents at a time that should invite reflection, family unity and gratitude?

– Propose to replace material gifts with spiritual gifts. A good poem, a delicious dessert, a lovingly painted picture, a song, or a simple craft can be a more special gift than any that appears in showcases. By giving each other objects with sentimental rather than monetary value, the elderly can, under equal conditions, give and receive happiness.

– Invite them to share the Novenas, Advents, Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Years Eve with the family. Make an additional effort to mobilize those who require special assistance, make room for them at the table, be attentive to their needs to go to the bathroom with assistance, to apply medicine during meetings, to eliminate barriers in the living room, dining room to thus receive them in safe spaces for them.

– Ask who they would like to visit for Christmas. Perhaps there is a childhood friend who has not seen her for a long time and lives far from her, then take her to her house and allow them to share some quality time with those of her generation.

– Include in the Christmas celebrations moments of reflection as a family. That the grandfather or grandmother play an important role, where they tell stories of when they were all children, or that they share the traditions of their ancestors, that they talk about the ornaments of yesteryear, the rituals that we sometimes forget, etc.

– Use spinner rings. Spinner rings are rings that are well known as a tool to reduce stress. These rings usually have more than one ring, and each of them can rotate freely in the wider inner ring. Gifting the ring to grandparents can reduce their anxiety, thereby minimizing the impact of the Holiday Blues.

– Listen. Lend a loving ear to, with empathy, listen and really understand their feelings related to Christmas, and if they are sad to help heal them and replace them with feelings of hope, to live a different Christmas, where being the elderly at home they have the right to a special place: to the first plate of food, to the first family prayer, to the first sentimental gift, to the first kiss and hug of the new year.

After all, Holiday Blues can be overcome with the steps above. One thing that is certain is that all the steps above are built on a foundation of empathy. Without empathy you are unlikely to overcome this syndrome and while there are different types of treatment, it all boils down to empathy. Hopefully this article was useful. Thanks for reading!