We’ve now officially entered what’s known as the holiday season and are beginning to be regaled with lights, foods, gift-giving ideas, music and parties all of which are designed to help us feel the magic in the air. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for everyone.
When I managed a retirement/assisted living/dementia care community, we started having meetings with the staff every fall so they could be prepared for the loss of some of our residents. It was and is a known fact that this is the time of year when many older adults living in communities make their transition. The pattern would continue through the new year. It was as if some of them couldn’t bear another holiday season without loved ones who had already passed on. Other folks would hang on for one more holiday season in order to please their families and then leave in January.
Instead of having a jolly time at the holiday season, many people are challenged by all the frivolities and can hardly wait for them to end. It is important to be sensitive to others who may not be having as good a time as others are. It’s also important to leave people room to say “no” to holiday parties and family get-togethers if they would rather stay home and read a book or listen to music.
Focusing on the spiritual aspects of the holiday season can be healthy and encouraging to those who are troubled by all the fuss that goes on. Grounding this time of year in spiritual rituals can be healing and can help focus wayward energies into something more supportive. Many churches and groups offer holiday gatherings and activities that are less jovial and more nurturing.
It’s important to be sensitive to the people in our lives and be willing to reach out to those who seem to be irritated by the holidays. Sometimes an open ear and warm heart goes a long way to helping people feel seen and heard. They are also more likely to want to engage socially once they feel their viewpoints are received and respected. Have a happy holiday season or at least a tolerable one if you wish all of it was already over! This, too, shall pass. It always does!