During the winter months, many seniors find themselves feeling down. Whether it’s due to the cold weather, shorter days, the holidays coming to an end or reminders of missed loved ones, seasonal sadness can often creep in during this time of year. While these feelings may be hard to dismiss, it’s important to remember that every day is truly a blessing!
Are you or a senior loved one experiencing sadness this time of year? If so, we hope our tips below can help to brighten each day and make the most of the season. Please note that we encourage you to contact your doctor if your sad feelings last for several weeks or if your symptoms keep you from living a healthy life.
1) Brighten Your Home – The vitamin D from natural light can help to improve your mood. Make it a daily routine to open your window coverings including blinds and curtains. Ask someone to help by trimming the trees or bushes that are keeping light from entering your home. If you still feel like you’re lacking natural light, getting vitamin D firsthand by heading outdoors can also help – just make sure to dress warm!
2) Anticipate an Event – Whether you’re looking forward to an upcoming party or celebration, planning to redecorate for the spring or waiting for a package to arrive, anticipating some type of event can help to create positive feelings and excitement. If you can’t think of something to look forward to, then create something! Invite your grandchildren or a friend over for a visit, plan an outing with a loved one or buy yourself a special treat.
3) Stick to a Schedule – When experiencing the winter blues, it can be tempting to alter your schedule to avoid activities and socialization – and hibernate instead. For example, if you prepared dinner at a certain time every day, try to stick to that same schedule. Or if you typically attend Sunday services at your church, don’t skip it this time of year.
4) Eat a Balanced Diet – Eating a balanced diet is essential for older adults and is a natural way to boost your mood and energy. Provide your body with the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. Avoid the temptation to chow down on unhealthy snacks, and instead, snack on complex carbohydrates and super foods such as hummus, blueberries and Greek yogurt.
5) Stay Active – Exercise, while important all year round, can be vital to lifting you up during the winter months. You can exercise indoors or dress in layers and take your exercise outdoors for some fresh air, if the temperature isn’t too cold. Stretching, walking and lifting light weights are a couple of ideas to get you started. Maybe now is a good time to get a treadmill or stationary bike for your house!
6) Accomplish a Goal – If you’ve been putting off a task, whether big or small, now is the time to tackle it. Add it to your to-do list, and once it’s finished, cross it off. This can help you feel motivated and may entice you to take on other items from your list.
7) Socialize – Being around other people and/or talking to them can lift your spirits. Get together with friends or family or simply give them a call. Attending a church service or volunteering in the community are other great ways to be around people, spark conversation and shift your perspective.
Don’t forget that feeling sad during the winter is somewhat common among many seniors, so if you are sharing the feelings described in this article, please know you aren’t alone. If you have additional ideas that may help others with their seasonal sadness, we’d love for you to comment with them below! Always remember to consult with your healthcare professional if changing your exercise routine or diet, or if you are concerned about your sad feelings.
If you have questions about Concordia or are interested in how we can help you and your loved one, please feel free to contact us any time via our online contact form or by calling our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571. Or, visit the care levels & services page of our website to learn about the types of care we offer, including In-Home Care, Memory Care, Long-Term Nursing Care, Adult Day Services, Hospice Care and more.
There is always a LOT happening at Concordia! Would you like to stay up-to-date with our news and events? Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter here.