When winter hits, many of us tend to go into hibernation mode. It’s a natural instinct, since the shorter days and colder weather make being outside less than ideal sometimes. However, the urge to stay inside can lead to isolation and feelings of loneliness during the winter months. Thankfully, there are some easy things you can do to keep your spirits high throughout the season and keep the winter blues at bay.
The Winter Blues
It’s incredibly common for people to feel a bit down during the cold winter months. In fact, there’s a scientific term for it: Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short. It has a lot to do with how the body reacts to sunlight. In the winter, there are fewer hours of daylight. One theory is that daylight is believed to help trigger hormone releases in the body; light stops the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) in the body. When there’s less light, we produce more melatonin, which can lead to low energy levels and can trigger depression in people.
Those feelings of tiredness and depression can be worsened by the fact that everyone else has the same instincts to stay inside and lay low during the winter. We simply don’t see as much of our friends and family as we do when the weather is nicer. Seniors are especially at risk for developing the winter blues, since they may already have mobility issues and smaller social circles. The holidays can also be a tough time for seniors, as they can serve as reminders of missed loved ones.
Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to help keep your mood and energy levels up all season long. Let’s take a look at some of the best tips on how to beat the winter blues this year.
Brighten up your home
Vitamin D from the sun can really elevate your mood. Make a point to open your curtains and soak up as much daylight as you can. Get outside and go for a short walk if you can. If you still aren’t getting enough light, you might want to purchase a light therapy lamp, which simulates natural light and can give your mood a boost.
Keep on moving
Exercise is always important, no matter what time of year it is. While the winter weather might make it harder for you to get out and go for a walk, there are still plenty of ways you can stay active indoors. Try to move your walk indoors, perhaps to a mall or a community centre with an indoor track. If you feel comfortable enough, you can also try to walk on a treadmill. Of course, there are lots of other low impact exercises that you can do right at home, such as stretching, yoga, tai chi, weight lifting, or exercise videos specifically designed for seniors.
Your diet is just as important as exercise. When you feel like you don’t have a ton of energy, your body will probably start to crave sugar and simple carbs for a quick energy boost. However, these foods will usually just make you even more tired. Instead, stick to lean proteins, vegetables, complex carbohydrates (whole wheat breads, brown rice), and fruit. Also, don’t forget to drink your 8 glasses of water a day!
Keep in touch
While you may be tempted to stay on your sofa with a blanket by yourself all day, it’s important to make sure you keep an active social life. Look for fun group activities to join, or find a place to volunteer at. Make plans to visit family and friends, or have them come to visit you. If you can’t see your loved ones in person, make sure you find time for to chat on the phone or over video chat. When you maintain those connections with people, you will feel much better during the darker days of winter.
Talk to a professional
If you notice that you feel sad or depressed, make sure you talk to your doctor about it. There’s a chance that it could be something more serious than the winter blues, and might require treatment.
How The Residents Of Bria Communities Fight The Winter Blues
At Bria Communities, we make sure residents have plenty of ways to keep busy and stay happy during the winter. As we do all year round, we offer plenty of fun group workshops, classes, clubs, and entertainment options every day. Residents are encouraged to participate in anything that interests them. Fitness classes are also offered, and there are even group outings that give residents the chance to get a bit of exercise in. There’s always something going on, which gives everyone the opportunity to stay active, social, and connected.