The approaching holidays for some can be a time of joy spent with family and friends but for others this can be a time of sadness and loneliness. Several factors contribute to this which can include some of the following; lack of family or friends nearby; unable to travel, past traumas associated during this time of year including how holidays were celebrated or the loss of a loved one around this time of year.
When individuals are lonely it can be associated with both poor physical and mental health. Loneliness has suggested in past research leading to inflammation. Higher levels of inflammation can be caused by multiple factors some of which include the foods we eat, injuries, lack of sleep, decreased movement, emotional stress along with physical stress. Depending on the source causing the inflammation symptoms can be subtle. Prolonged loneliness can also be associated with higher levels of anxiety and depression. It also contributes to memory loss and dementia. If individuals are isolated and without contact with those of whom they care or maybe have no one to reach out to their health can suffer.
Do you yourself or know someone whom this time of year tends to experience more loneliness? Below are some lifestyle tips to both lower inflammation but also to create community, decrease loneliness and create more joy at this time of year.
- get outside daily
- engage in a hobby or passion you enjoy
- Get out to a Christmas or holiday concert. Even going to a local school where children are preforming.
- volunteer at your favorite organization
- Be sure to eat a whole foods diet.
- Making sure your Vitamin D levels are optimal
- Visit an assisted living facility or nursing home and make an elderly person smile
- End the year with beginning that hobby or passion you always dreamed of and carry it into 2023!