The hustle and bustle of holiday festivities make for a joyous season. From the carols that play on the radio to the decorations that adorn your home, it’s a magical time to build lasting memories with family and friends. Once the festivities are over, however, the days can seem long and lonely. When combined with winter weather, the impact may be even more challenging.
For older adults or caregivers who spend a lot of time indoors, the winter can bring on a case of depression. Some people may even develop Seasonal Affective Disorder. Both are serious medical conditions.
Taking a proactive approach to beating the postholiday blues is essential.
4 Tips for Preventing the Winter Blues
1. Don’t isolate yourself: When the cold winter winds blow, it may be tempting to stay inside. Unless going outdoors during the winter presents a safety risk, try to stay actively engaged with friends and family. Go to an afternoon movie matinee or sign up for a water-aerobics class at your local YMCA. On days that weather prevents you from venturing out, connect to others via video chat or social media.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Winter is often a time for indulging in comfort foods, naps on the couch, and too much television. While both activities may make you feel better in the short-term, they can actually make a case of the blues worse. Instead, try to stick with a healthy, well-balanced diet. Exercise most days of the week. Get a good night’s rest. Stay well hydrated.
3. Soak up the sun: While spring and summer are often filled with long hours of daylight, fall and winter are not. A lack of exposure to sunlight can leave you feeling a little down. You don’t have to be outdoors very long to reap the rewards of the sun and nature. Whenever possible, try to spend a few minutes outside soaking up the sunlight. Some people find it helpful to invest in a light therapy box to sit next to their favorite chair. These boxes mimic outdoor light and can help give the body, mind, and spirit a boost.
4. Volunteer for a charity: Another way to help prevent the blues is by volunteering to help others. Research shows that older adults who donate their time and talent to a cause they believe in enjoy better mental and physical health. Fortunately, there are organizations that have virtual volunteer opportunities you can complete from home. Connecting with one of these organizations can be an option during stormy winter months.