Great tips from Freelance writer Sally Perkins
Positive Ways for Seniors To Beat the Dreaded Winter Blues
As much as 6% of the US population, and primarily those in the northern parts of the country, is affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder also known as the winter blues, in its most aggressive form. A further 14% of the population experience a less severe form of seasonal mood changes. While most people are eagerly gearing up for the wintery festive season, some individuals are feeling less excited about the colder months and the implications it holds for both their physical and emotional well-being. Luckily we all harness an immense power over our own emotions and by simply choosing to be happy we can vanquish the winter blues without too much effort.
A decrease in the sunshine and longer hours of darkness need not be a trying time for anyone as winter also marks the arrival of the festive season which brings with it huge doses of blissful festive cheer. While we may tend to feel more demure and lethargic during the colder months a drop in temperature should not be allowed to dictate our entire mindset. The elderly are particularly vulnerable when it comes to the winter blues since they are generally less mobile, making them more susceptible to the unhealthy habits of the colder season such as an even more sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits.
Indulge in the sun shine and be happy
A daily dose of sunshine is essential for counteracting winter’s seemingly never-ending hours of darkness. Regular bursts of sunlight boost our energy levels and leave us feeling more engaged and optimistic. Make the time to spend some time outdoors on days that the sun is shining and enjoy the added bonus of receiving a Vitamin D boost while at it. Indulge in what makes you happy whether it is reading a good book, listening to your favorite music or spending time with loved ones. Focusing on what makes you happy will go a long way towards keeping your moods elevated during the winter months.
Use a light box
Bright light therapy is another way to overcome the draining effects of the long days of darkness. Special instruments known as light boxes are often used to help individuals suffering from sunlight deprivation to overcome their symptoms. These light boxes mimic sunlight and are typically used for approximately half an hour a day, significantly improving the moods of those suffering from the winter blues.
Exercise and social engagement
Exercise is a miracle worker when it comes to improving one’s mood as well as boosting overall health. Something as simple as walking can be an excellent form of exercise for seniors and, even when the weather doesn’t permit a stroll outside, a shopping mall can act as a handy substitute. Maintaining healthy social relationships is another very important way to ensure that the winter blues don’t strike you down. Social engagement is an imperative morale booster at all times but even more so when the cold and gloomy days of winter can leave us feeling woeful.
Maintain a healthy diet
The colder winter temperatures and the subsequent sense of hibernation often cause us to overeat, especially on sweets and dense carbs, which may lead to an unhealthy weight gain. Try to eat healthy food as much as possible and take a senior’s unique dietary requirements into consideration when planning meals. A meat and vegetable soup is just one example of a very healthy and filling winter meal that seniors generally enjoy.
Enduring the winter months can be difficult at any age but it does affect seniors more severely than others. All it takes to get through it is a bit of knowledge, a positive approach, and some patience and before you know it spring will be here and all will once again be right in the world