Chase Away Those Winter Blues

Although the concept of Blue Monday may not hold up to scientific scrutiny, by the third week of January, the snow, cold and scarcity of sunshine have likely have worn out their welcome.  Older adults who aren’t as mobile during the winter months may find even the shortest days of the year difficult to fill with uplifting activities.  

In the northernmost regions of North America, like Edmonton Alberta or Saint Paul Minnesota, not only can the thermometer drop to dangerous temperatures as low as -30 to -40°C, but daylight hours are also scarce.  Working adults and school-aged children commonly leave the house and return home in the dark;  and after a few months of grey, cold days, many people experience a touch of the winter blues.

Late into January, after the last traces of the holiday season are packed away for another year, and Spring is still a long way off, it can be hard to find joy in another frigid day.  But there are many things older adults can do to brighten their day, even when hazardous weather prevents outdoor activity.  

Activities to Fight the Winter Blues

  • Nothing feels better than helping someone in need; volunteering your time and skills for the benefit of others in a guaranteed mood-lifter.  Older adults who can’t venture out in the winter weather to volunteer can work from home; knitters can check out the many charities accepting donations at Noble Knits.  
  • January is a perfect month to spend time indoors, clearing out closets of unused clothing, shoes and boots or making small repairs around the home.  Donations of gently-used warm clothing and blankets are in high demand during the coldest months. 
  • LED technology can mimic daylight and give your mood a boost. The Oldish has tested the Circadian Optic Lamp and found the light therapy works beautifully.
  • It’s never too late to learn a new skill.  Taking a class in woodworking, tying flies or Tai Chi can spark a new hobby and keep the mind and body active throughout the winter months. 
  • Older adults can also volunteer their time as mentors or tutors, helping other adults learning a new language or teaching children to read, write or play a musical instrument. 
  • A little extra self-care during the winter months can also be a blues buster.  After a spell on the treadmill, enjoy a pampering session, rent a funny movie or open a new book.  
  • If all else fails, try researching a little getaway.  Even if you never go, planning an adventure can be an entertaining distraction from the ice and snow.