Winter Wellness for Beating the Blues

By Sheila Robison, MiCAFE Economic Security Team Member at Elder Law of Michigan

The National Institute of Mental Health reports some people feel moody or even saddened during winter months. During the cold months of the year, folks are not able to get outdoors, open windows in their home for fresh air, or get proper sunlight and exercise. Winter months are long and with Daylight Savings Time, the days seem short due to darkness at earlier hours of our day. However, for every senior, parent, and child, there are ways to get on top of this struggle! Let’s be ready for the winter blues this year!

According to How To Beat The Winter Blues by Forbes freelance journalist, Frances Bridges, there is an active diagnosis called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression characterized by a seasonal cycle, extreme fatigue, difficulty with concentration, and low motivation. Here are some ways to combat the dreary winter months and improve moods and mental function.

  • Try your best to get some sun! Bundle up and get outside as much as possible!
  • Get your Vitamin D checked. This will require a blood test from your doctor. A vitamin deficiency may be the main cause of your moods.
  • Get proper exercise! Participating in yoga is a good move for stretches and is low impact for seniors! Water aerobics is fun. Join your local YMCA or check out community activities.
  • Make an extra effort to eat healthy foods! Though it may be hard to find fresh produce, now is the time to seek out indoor farmers markets and get the vitamin-enhanced foods you need.
  • Do fun things! Call up a friend, go to breakfast, and take in a matinee movie! When’s the last time you spent time in your local library or helped in a church or at a community function? Being with people is the key. The possibilities are endless, let your mind flow.

Let’s perk up our winter months with as much pizzazz as we can muster! Take time to think about fun things. Take a cooking class or learn how to knit. Volunteer at a local hospital or school. Whatever you find interesting, make a list and hang it up. See how many tasks you can check off during the winter months. This will not only give you something to concentrate on, but it will fill your days with interesting activities. You will be helping yourself as well as others. By using these helpful ideas, winter will become a good time of year and spring will only open the door to new opportunities.

Sheila Robison is an Economic Security Team Member for MiCAFE at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since June 2010. As an Economic Security Team Member, Sheila assists Michigan seniors with benefit applications and serves as an advocate for the health and safety of seniors.