How to Defeat the Winter Blues

beating the winter blues

The winter months are fast approaching and for some, the anxiety has already set in. The fear of not being able to get out due to severe weather can feel isolating. The constant worry of getting sick or being hospitalized can monopolize thoughts. For much of the of the older population, these are real stressors that impact daily living. Not only are the above stressors causing anxiety for the older population, but with winter months come the holidays. The feeling of looking forward to the holidays is not always the case for all. For some, it is a reminder of lost loved ones, gatherings they no longer participate in, presents they are not able to afford because of financial hardship, and favorite recipes they once prepared. These traditions now feel more like a burden than a pleasure. These are just a few shared concerns we have heard. 

Recognizing signs of the winter blues is important in helping those who are suffering find ways to cope:

  • Obsessive thoughts of getting sick 

  • Planning what you will say to get out of gatherings 
  • Excess sleepiness, insomnia, or sleep deprivation 

  • Irritability or social isolation
  • 
Appetite changes

  • Fatigue

  • Sadness

Now, here’s how to beat those winter blues:

  • Scheduling visits with family and friends during winter months 

  • Signing up for a fitness club, walking daily or just 10 minutes of exercise each day at home

  • If older, getting involved at the senior center 
  • Scheduling dinner, lunch, or breakfast with friends each week

  • Starting a new home project

  • Reading those books you have put off reading
  • Starting a new hobby

  • Surrounding yourself with plants

  • Consider getting a pet

  • Identifying what triggered winter blues in the past and seeking help on how to cope

It is important we all do our part in helping the aging population combat winter blues, but it is also a time to do a check on ourselves, our family, friends and co-workers. Providing educational handouts to the hospital and community, and identifying signs with ourselves and those around us are ways of helping make winter and the holidays one of the best times of the year instead of the worst.