For most of us who live with cold, dark winters, the winter blues can seem inevitable. People usually describe the “winter blues” as sadness, fatigue, and lack of motivation. It often happens in January, after the fun of the holidays are over but we’re still faced with months of chilly, dark weather. When you’re retired, the winter blues can get even worse. You don’t have a workplace where you can forget about the weather, and anyone with mobility challenges will find contending with ice and snow makes it even harder to get out of the house. The end of the holidays can also be a little depressing for many retirees. Here’s how to beat the winter blues, even when you’re retired.
Find Joy in Winter
Winter may not be your favorite season, but there are benefits to each season of the year. Can you notice the beauty of snow-capped trees, the way the sun sparkles on the ice? Can you appreciate the coziness of being warm at home while a storm rages outside? Do you like the sound of the rain on the roof? Many people like to think of winter as a sort of hibernation time. It’s a time to slow down, to recuperate, to be renewed. Finding small things that you enjoy about winter can help the season pass more enjoyably.
Refresh Your Diet
You might be surprised to find that your diet changes in the winter, even if you aren’t consciously making any changes. A lack of fresh produce and the presence of lots of holiday “treats” can mean you are eating less fresh foods and protein. You’re probably also eating more processed carbohydrates. You might feel more energy and motivation by adding more fresh foods and protein to your diet. Since you’re also getting less Vitamin D from the sun, you could also try eating more foods that contain Vitamin D. Milk, fatty fish, yogurt, or fortified cereal are all good sources of Vitamin D.
Supercharge Your Sleep Routine
Your whole life is affected when you’re not getting enough sleep. For many people, the lack of exposure to sunlight and more time spent indoors has negative effects on your sleep patterns. Check out this article on how to create new habits for better sleep today.
While many feel blue during the winter, some people actually suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression caused by the change of seasons. This type of depression is often treated with light therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Light therapy involves sitting near a light box that mimics the brightness of sunlight for a period of time each day. You should ask your doctor about light therapy if you think you might have seasonal affective disorder.
Finally, one of the best ways to beat the winter blues when you’re retired is to avoid going through it alone. Call your family, friends, and other support people. Make sure to spend time with them regularly. If you find yourself far from family and friends and feeling lonely or isolated, you may want to check out a senior living community. Senior living communities provide lots of opportunities to meet new people, socialize, and spend more time with others. Check out Stellar Living’s Communities to find one near you today.