You’ve Got This! Helpful tips to beat the winter blues.

You’ve Got This! Helpful tips to beat the winter blues.

January 15, 2024 | Health

You’ve Got This! Helpful tips to beat the winter blues.

Now that one of the busiest times of the year has started to slow down, the lingering chill of winter can make many people feel a bit blue. Have you ever heard of the winter blues? Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), commonly known as the winter blues, affects people as the seasons change, typically in fall and winter.

As the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, the lack of sunlight and restrictions brought about by inclement weather can lead to feelings of depression. And after the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the quiet lull that follows can contribute to why some start to feel down on themselves.

Regardless of what’s causing your winter blues, it’s a common experience for many older adults during this time of year. Dwelling in gloominess does more harm than good, as it has the potential to heighten feelings of depression and other health issues. By taking simple initiatives, you can shake off the winter blues and get back to feeling like yourself in no time. 

Do you think you’ve caught a case of the winter blues? Here are a few common symptoms in older adults:

  • Low energy levels
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling slow or fatigued
  • Changes in sleep or appetite patterns
  • Finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Wanting to spend more time alone

If you’re noticing any of these symptoms in yourself, check out these 5 quick tips that make a true difference in beating the winter blues!

1. Soak up the sun.

Sunlight is essential for our mental well-being and disease prevention. Especially if you or a loved one has a pre-existing health condition, a daily dose of vitamin D works wonders. As you wait for the arrival of spring and the warm air it brings, you can still soak up the sun’s rays from inside.

Simply opening the curtains or blinds lets you take in the natural light. Pull up a comfy chair, grab your favorite book, or chat with a loved one. Be sure to look out for window drafts and throw on a blanket to keep yourself warm. Depending upon what the conditions are outside, consider spending a few minutes in the fresh air and under the sun. Always dress appropriately and limit your time in the cold.

2. Stay active and eat healthy.

Regular exercise and healthy eating are always important no matter what time of year it is. Especially for older adults, having a solid health regimen lowers the risk of catching an illness, prevents falls, and makes for a strong immune system.

Finding ways to stay active and eat well boosts moods and energy levels. While the cold weather lingers, try out indoor exercises like yoga or light weightlifting. Modify these activities as needed to ensure you’re avoiding potential injuries. Incorporate lots of fruits and veggies into your diet. Look for food that is rich in vitamin D, such as eggs, fish, and almond milk.

3. Stick to a routine.

When the winter blues kicks in, keeping up with daily activities and sticking to your normal routine can be tough. Getting involved in activities or socializing can feel overwhelming, which can lead to the urge to isolate yourself. When you stick to a routine and the habits you’ve formed, it can make a big difference in turning your mood around.

Things like waking up and going to bed at the same time, making a checklist for daily tasks, and investing time during the day for self-care can help you stay on a regular schedule. Though it may be tempting at times, try your best to not skip out on important parts of your routine. Keeping up good habits is key to making yourself feel better.

4. Charge your social battery.

The cold makes it easy to want to spend the day curled up in front of the TV with just you and your thoughts. Even though spending alone time is much needed at times, surrounding yourself with others is one of the best ways to lift your spirits. Get together with friends and family to share a meal, play a game, or just sit and catch up. Doing so over the phone or video chat is just as beneficial if the weather gets in the way of venturing out.

Always remember that feeling down during the winter months is common among many older adults. Spending time with others in the same boat as you are a great way to shift your perspective and control any negative emotions you may be experiencing.

5. Embrace support when you need it.

Sometimes, breaking free from the grip of winter blues can be more challenging than we anticipate. If you’re just having a bad day or there is a persistent impact on your mental or physical health, it’s crucial to never hold back from seeking the support you need.

Whether you choose to confide in and share your feelings with friends or family, consult with a healthcare professional for guidance, or explore the comfort of a support group, there is always something ready to offer a helping hand. Don’t underestimate the strength of reaching out; it not only lightens the burden, but also brings comfort in knowing you will overcome the winter blues.

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