Can New Year’s resolutions lead to better health?
For that matter, can they lead to anything besides broken resolutions? The jury is still out on that question, but one thing is for sure; New Year’s resolutions can help seniors to stay engaged and active to avoid isolation and depression, here’s how.
Addressing the blues
It seems that the blues and “let-down” that many people experience after the holidays is very real. For some it is a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that is brought on by the lack of sunlight during the winter months.
Some estimates say that as many as 10 million people in the United States suffer from the condition. Women are more prone to SAD, although scientists are unsure as to why. New Year’s resolutions may help to ease people through the winter months by adopting new self-care habits that may also help to address depression. Resolutions could include:
- Join a yoga class
- Join a swimming club for a weekly warm water swim
- Buy a light box or light visor to increase exposure to light
Feeling better physically
The winter months can increase depression and cause physical symptoms. It can cause fatigue and low energy levels. Some people may experience decreased pain tolerance making any illness or injury hurt more. Others may experience back pain, stomach pain, headaches or a feeling of overall malaise. Addressing the depression may help to address some of these physical symptoms. New Year’s resolutions may help if the individual can follow them, one step at a time. Resolutions could include:
- Find a support group and attend once a week
- Find a therapist and attend weekly appointments
- Find an online therapist or support group
- Make a doctor’s appointment for an annual physical to rule out any underlying conditions
There are many different types of depression and each is to be taken seriously. Major depression, persistent depression, bipolar depression and others can only be treated by a professional behavioral health provider. New Year’s resolutions are not appropriate.
However, resolutions may help to address what is called “situational depression”; a condition brought on by specific events or situations such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, divorce and other traumatic events. Making a New Year’s resolution to move oneself out of depression may sound trite, but if it becomes a promise to oneself to take one step in the right direction – and out of depression – then it becomes instructive. Resolutions could include:
- Seek counsel from a trusted advisor, friend, or clergy
- Join a support group, in a physical location or online
- Find a therapist to help move through the depression
- Join a group to find a new hobby and therapy through music, art, movement, or crafts
- Schedule a family night
New Year’s resolutions can be silly; “Try blue hair”, or made to be broken; “Lose 20 pounds”. However, they can also be helpful and provide a map for the new year; one that can avoid loneliness, despair and lead to better mental, emotional and physical health. Encourage your loved one to think about a New Year’s resolution as a promise to him or herself, one that can be kept and practices as 2019 arrives
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.