Take the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge to beat the holiday blues
The holidays can offer tidings of comfort and joy, but for some, they are tidings of distress and sadness. In particular, seniors who are coping with losses may experience a more pronounced sense of loneliness over this time of year when expectations are heightened, but daylight is lessened.
If you are Plus-50 and fall into this category, or in general are looking for ways to better manage your holiday stress, I urge you to take the 12 Days of Christmas Senior Center Challenge. The challenge is simple, visit one or several of your local senior centers 12 times between now and the end of the year. How will this help? I will give you a dozen ideas to illustrate.
Here are 12 Christmas challenge recommendations from the Westlake Senior & Community Services Center:
- Simply come to take a tour and enjoy the decor. Admit it, you don't put up a tree anymore (unless it's a small tabletop tree). If it's become too physically taxing, or emotionally draining to drag boxes from your attic or other undisclosed locations to decorate for the holidays, you are certainly not alone. That's why the local senior centers pay extra attention to this detail. We want to make it nice for you.
- Get your gifts wrapped for free! This doesn't happen all the time, but on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., staff from the Hospice of the Western Reserve will be here at the Center to provide this much appreciated service. Bring a few gifts of appropriate size. No RSVP required.
- Try your chance to win one of 10 holiday raffle baskets. These baskets will be on display all month and are worth checking out. Compliments of our Advisory Council, the proceeds directly benefit our senior programs. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Feel good about supporting a good cause, and feel even better if you win! Anyone in the community can come in and purchase tickets. You do not have to be Plus-50 to win.
- Surviving and Thriving: Come to this informal class on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m., to learn about promoting your well-being and reducing emotional stress over the holidays.
- Memory Lane Trivia Challenge: Stimulate your memory and join a trivia team in Westlake, Rocky River or North Olmsted. The three centers have teams of 6-8 people entered in a friendly competition. The next challenge is Wednesday, Dec. 5, 1:30-3 p.m.
- Laugh for the Health of It: Just like the title implies, even if you "fake it 'til you make it," laughter is 99.9 percent guaranteed. A certified laughter leader will show you why laughter is the best medicine. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m.
- A New Weigh of Life: Hear some tips about how to maintain healthy sugar levels and make better food choices over the holidays. This class will be taught by a registered dietitian from UH St. John Medical Center. Tuesday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m.
- Exercise: We have a half-dozen or so options of senior-friendly exercise classes. Accommodations are made no matter what your physical activity level currently is. It is the perfect place to exercise if you have "gym-timidation" or have never attempted it before. As a licensed counselor, I can tell you that regular, sustained exercise is the best anti-depressant.
- Healing Circle: Enjoy a session of Reiki combined with meditation, led by one of our yoga instructors. Fridays, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 21, 28, noon.
- Holiday Luncheon: Dress up and enjoy a catered Christmas lunch with live entertainment. The winning raffle basket tickets (see #3) will be drawn at this event. Wednesday, Dec. 12, 11:30 a.m.
- Join in on one of our discussion groups: "News & Views," "Reminiscing" and "TED Talks." These, along with so many of our other classes, can be a great way to get to know new people.
- Day After Double Feature: Come socialize and enjoy two Lifetime Original holiday movies complete with happy endings. This will be a great way to fend off that "day after Christmas let down." Wednesday, Dec. 26, 10 a.m.
Most, but not all, of these programs are free of charge and many require reservations. You can find more details in our monthly newsletter posted at www.cityofwestlake.org/157/Community-Services, or call us at 440-899-3544. Drop by Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. We are located at 29160 Center Ridge Road in Westlake. You can also find information about eight local senior centers on our combined website: westshoreseniors.org.
Take the challenge. Other than the Christmas blues, you have nothing to lose.
I am the Director of the Senior and Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.