Beat the Winter Blues!

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 1/16/2019 6:00 AM by Interim HealthCare
Contributed by Cynthia Mitchell RN
The winter months are firmly upon us here in the North Country. With the cold temperatures, and sometimes treacherous conditions, everyone is preparing to hunker down indoors! With that in mind, I thought a few tips on how to keep the Winter Blues at bay were in order! This is especially important for the senior population, who are more susceptible.
First, it is important to note that there is a difference between milder Winter Blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is common after the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season along with the cold temperatures and less sunlight, for people to experience mild short periods of a low mood. That’s the Winter Blues.
cold, elderly woman looking out windowSAD, on the other hand, is a form of depression in which people experience depressive episodes during specific times of the year. The most common seasonal pattern is for depressive episodes to be in the fall or winter and diminish in the spring. SAD affects roughly 5% of Americans, with another 10-15% having a milder variation of this condition. Signs and Symptoms include, Feelings of hopelessness and sadness, hypersomnia or a tendency to oversleep, change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods, weight gain, drop in energy level, decreased physical activity, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and avoidance of social situations. It is important to note that SAD is a clinical depression and you should be evaluated by a medical professional if you notice these symptoms.  
There are, however, some fun ways to spice things up in the winter and chase those everyday winter blues away.
elderly man painting as a hobbyTake up a new hobby
It may be tempting to curl up on the couch and watch TV all day when it’s cold outside, but doing something productive may be better to keep low mood at bay. Taking up a new hobby such as embroidery, assembling jigsaw puzzles, or coloring in adult coloring books can help you to pass the time in a beneficial way as all of these activities can help to keep the mind active. When we do things that challenge our brain, this results in better mental health and may even help to prevent dementia.
elderly couple exercise walking in mallExercise
You may not feel like going for a walk or a run when it’s snowing outside, but there are other ways to stay active, keep fit, and chase the winter blues away. You could join a senior yoga or dance class at your local community center or go for a walk in the mall. Whatever you choose to do, make sure to be consistent and exercise at least three times a week for your physical and mental health.
Stay social
Though most people would like to hibernate when it’s cold outside, maintaining your favorite social activities can help to boost your mood and keep the winter blues away. Invite your friends for a winter potluck, or meet up for coffee at a warm and cozy coffee shop. Staying social prevents you from becoming isolated and lonely during the cold winter months.
I hope you give these ideas a try to help make the most of these chilly winter months! So, bundle up, stay warm, stay active, and stay wonderful! Blessings Friends!
Interim HealthCare of the Capital Region, with offices in Albany and Glens Falls NY, is your local Homecare provider offering licensed nursing, personal care, and staffing services in Upstate NY for over 47 years.

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