How Older Adults Can Beat the Winter Blues

old person wearing hat

Improve Your Mood and Overall Health

Tips to Keep Seasonal Depression at Bay

Every winter season begins the same: The days get shorter, the skies get grayer. The temperatures creep lower, and we get our first major snow and ice storm. For many of us, these seasonal changes are about much more than the weather: They have a significant impact on our physical and mental health. 

The Cleveland Clinic reports that 5 percent of adults in the United States experience seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression with seasonal patterns, and another 10 to 20 percent may experience a milder form of the “winter blues.” 

If you are feeling down in the winter, you may stop doing your daily activities and chores. It may feel harder to get out of bed in the morning and fit in movement and exercise. As a result, your overall health can suffer. So what can you do to keep those winter blues away? 

  • Commit to physical activity. Even if it is only for 4 times a week, make a commitment to move your body for 20 minutes. This might mean taking a walk, doing an exercise video, or doing light housework.
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule. Wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, whether it is a weekday or over the weekend. It may be hard at first, but resetting your body clock should only take a couple of weeks.
  • Establish a soothing bedtime routine. Whether it is wearing a cozy robe and sipping a mug of tea or taking a hot bath, find a way to wind down every evening that you will enjoy and look forward to.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Include fatty fish, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and eggs. Limit caffeine and alcohol intake, especially close to bedtime.
  • Find a way to stay connected. Establish a weekly walk or phone call to catch up with a friend. Join an online book club. Volunteer at a local organization. Whatever you choose to do, put it on your calendar and stick to it: It will give you something to look forward to.
  • Choose one activity a day to complete. This can be a small task, like going through a box of paperwork and sorting it to keep or recycle, or even clearing the dishes from the sink. Finishing an activity gives us an important sense of accomplishment.
  • Get outside when the sun is shining. Time your activities and exercise to take you outdoors when it is sunny and bright. Take in the natural daylight as much as possible. If you can’t get outdoors, sit by a window and enjoy the light.

The McGregor community provides a place for older adults to get through the winter in Cleveland together, with plenty of opportunities for socializing, exploring new hobbies and activities, and getting outside safely on our beautiful grounds. Please reach out to us to learn more about our living options, including independent living and assisted living apartments. 

Contact McGregor