“I'll have a blue Christmas without you, I'll be so blue just thinking about you, Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree, Won't be the same, dear, if you're not here with me.”
~ Elvis Presley
We are well into the holiday season, and society at large and the media are all telling us we have a lot to celebrate. Television and the internet remind us this is a time for family and friends to get together and participate in various holiday activities—from ice skating and drinking hot cocoa to decorating the Christmas tree and baking cookies. However, even if some people are full of laughter and good cheer, many others may have a difficult time during the holiday season.
As Elvis reminds us in his song Blue Christmas, some people experience the holiday blues.
The National Alliance of Mental Illness conducted a survey of over 700 participants and found that with the pressure of trying to juggle additional activities, financial strain around buying presents, and unrealistic expectations, holidays can compound people’s feelings of sadness, anxiety, and stress.
The holiday blues can be especially prevalent among older adults. The holidays may remind them of the traditions they used to celebrate with loved ones who have since been lost. This, in turn, can trigger agitation and loneliness. Older adults already often suffer from depression and anxiety, and sadly, these symptoms can be exacerbated around the holidays.
Various articles recommend a series of steps you can take to address the holiday blues for you and the older adults in your life, such as going on walks, engaging in conversation, and hiring respite care. As effective as these options may be, many can be unappealing as well as difficult or burdensome on you as the caregiver.
A surefire solution to address the holiday blues is using music to engage your loved one in listening and singing together. Using music is easy and fun for everyone, and it can reduce agitation while promoting relaxation.
Whether you are 18 or 80, research shows that singing (even off-key) can provide incredible health benefits, including improvements in mood, memory, and communication as well as reductions in anxiety, and feelings of isolation.
Research has also found that singing affects our brain on such a deep level that it can help regulate cortisol to reduce stress, release oxytocin to promote socialization, and regulate various other neurochemicals to improve our mood and behavior. While pharmaceutical companies target dopamine and serotonin through their anti-anxiety medications, singing can boost those same neurochemicals—without side effects.
One way to easily introduce singing as an activity with your loved one is with SingFit STUDIO Caregiver. SingFit STUDIO is a therapeutic music app that enables you to engage older adults in singing, laughing, and sharing stories. The SingFit app includes holiday songs like Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, and Silent Night as well as classic oldies from Doris Day, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, and more.
It’s never been easier to sing away the holiday blues. And, with your loved one’s favorite songs, you will create memories that last a lifetime. For more information about SingFit STUDIO please check out our website.