When days get shorter and the cold weather keeps us indoors, we can experience the winter blues. Feelings of sluggishness, listlessness, and changes in appetite can creep in as the temperatures drop.
Many seniors spend a significant amount of time inside to avoid icy sidewalks and snowy weather, but being indoors can contribute to these feelings. Although we can’t change the weather, there are ways to combat the winter blues.
Get regular exercise.
Physical activity is a natural mood booster that supports our physical and mental health. A short walk, chair yoga, swimming, or riding a stationary bike are great forms of exercise that will release feel-good neurotransmitters.
Socialize with friends and family.
Although the winter blues may make seniors want to isolate themselves, socializing can greatly improve mental health. Participating in group games like bingo or bridge, making crafts, or dining with others can increase connection. Of course, this year brings unique circumstances, and physical distancing may make some activities challenging. There are plenty of ways seniors can socialize remotely, including FaceTime, writing letters, or exchanging cards.
Eat a healthy diet.
There is a significant amount of research that shows how powerful the mind-body connection is. A nutritious diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help beat those winter blues. Although sugary sweets may be great in the moment, they can cause an emotional crash. Switch out cookies and crackers for fresh veggies, fruits, or a steaming bowl of vegetable stew.
Create a calendar.
After the holidays, the winter days can start to blur together, and boredom can set in. Create a calendar and add different items like social activities, meals, or tasks. It will help break up the monotony and give you something to look forward to in the coming days. No one wants a calendar that consists of only appointments, so make sure some fun is built into the schedule.
Learn a new skill.
Winter is a wonderful time to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby. Try your hand at oil painting, wood working, jewelry making, or take a computer class. There’s no limit and you might find something you really love to do.
Winter doesn’t have to be “blue.” It can be a time to learn, relax, and reconnect with friends and family.
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