The Transition Network

New York City Chapter

Feeling Older? Puleeze. Managing Holiday Stress

(Posted November 25, 2019)

By Amy Epstein 

I’ve always thought the first day of December was like the starting gun of a race. There’s now the beginning of a roughly 4 week period that ends with THE HOLIDAYS! You can be celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza, or any combination of them, but they all tend to involve gatherings, gifts, holiday cheer, and, possibly, worries that we gave the right amount of a tip to the doorman, or gave the best gifts to family members or made the right green choice to not send out a holiday card.

There’s also the real possibility that we’re dealing with loneliness, when the holiday message in all media formats shows everyone having SO.MUCH.FUN.

Take heart. There are many recommended strategies for dealing with the problem of holiday stress.

The NIH has a pretty good checklist:

To Reduce Stress:
  • Get Enough Sleep.
  • Exercise Regularly. Just 30 minuets a day of walking can boost mood and reduce stress.  
  • Build a social support network. 
  • Set Priorities. Decide what must get done and what can wait. Say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.
  • Think Positive. Note what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, not what you’ve failed to do. 
  • Try Relaxation methods. Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, or Tai Chi may help.
  • Seek Help. Talk to a mental health professional if you feel unable to cope, have suicidal thoughts, or use drugs or alcohol to cope.
Loneliness is one problem that your Caring Collaborative Neighborhood Group* can certainly help you with, but it helps if you’re proactive!   Propose some get-togethers — maybe it’s watching a Netflix movie at your apartment with popcorn and ice cream for a few women in the group, going out to a neighborhood restaurant, meeting for a walk in the park with lunch afterwards.  Just don’t be shy about reaching out.  Chances are the people you’re asking are also looking for companionship during this challenging holiday season.

*If you’re in the Caring Collaborative but not in a Neighborhood Group, and would be interested in joining one, you should contact  Caring Collaborative’s Coordinator (

Amy Epstein  is writing and cartooning on her blog,  She trained in architecture and worked as a Senior Urban Designer for the Manhattan Office of the NYC Dept. of City Planning, then started a company that designed and manufactured educational children’s products. She is a CC Council member, and author of the Caring Times column, “Feeling Older? Puleeze."

Material from, 21:15:36 September 16, 2021.
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