It’s that time of year again. The fun and festive holiday season is over. The grey days of winter have settled in. Snow and ice seem to be the primary topic of conversation among many central Ohio caregivers and seniors. If spring seems far off and you find yourself feeling a little blue, you aren’t alone. About 15% of the population experiences the winter doldrums. For about one-third of them, it is severe enough to be classified as depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder that requires medical intervention.
We have assembled a list of Blues Busters that may help caregivers and seniors shake it off.
12 Top Tips for Beating the Winter Blues
- Get outside. On sunny days, even when it is a little chilly, bundle up and take a quick walk. Just 10 minutes spent outside will help lift your spirits; however, be careful and wear boots with a non-skid tread.
- Get enough vitamin D. Talk with your primary care physician about taking a vitamin D supplement. Being deficient in this important nutrient is common in the winter. It can contribute to feeling more than a little blue.
- Stay connected to friends and family. Winter weather may force that connection to be by phone or Skype, but try to keep in touch regardless. Isolation and loneliness can easily lead to depression.
- Make healthy eating a priority. Poor nutrition can leave you feeling lethargic and unmotivated. Both make the winter doldrums feel even worse.
- Get moving! Even if it is on a stationary bike in your living room in front of the television, exercise releases endorphins that are proven to boost your mood.
- Limit your alcohol intake to just one or two glasses a week. While it might be tempting to consume more when you are feeling blue, the more you drink, the more your brain chemistry becomes altered. In most cases, it has a negative impact on your emotional well-being.
- Get the right amount of sleep. For most adults, the general recommendation is 7 -9 hours per night. Too much or too little can make you feel sluggish and weary.
- Consider learning how to meditate or practice yoga. Both have positive body-mind benefits. If physical limitations make yoga more difficult, give chair yoga a try. It can be safely performed from a seated position.
- Find ways to laugh more. It really is one of the best ways to treat the blues. You might try hosting a game night for family and friends or even investing in a few comedy DVDs you can enjoy when you are feeling down.
- Turn on all the lights in the main rooms in your house. Having a brighter environment can help lift your spirits and brighten your mood.
- Invest in a light therapy box for your home. It is a small lamp that emits blue light believed to help reduce the symptoms of the winter blues. They are fairly inexpensive with prices on most ranging from $40 to $150.
- Try to relax and enjoy the season. Take photographs after snow storms and learn to appreciate the beauty of winter.