Ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder with these mood-lifting tips and activities.

Now that winter is in full swing, the temperatures have dropped, and daylight often seems scarce. It’s no wonder why so many people start to get the blues during the winter months. It’s so common, in fact, that around 500,000 Americans experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depressive condition that is brought about by seasonal changes, often worsening in the winter.

How to Beat the Winter Blues

Beat the winter blues by exercising regularly.

Though the exact cause of SAD is unknown, those who live in areas with longer nights and less sunlight are more prone to experience this condition, and older adults can be especially vulnerable to these feelings. Following are symptoms to watch for and helpful tips to help seniors ward off the symptoms of SAD.

SAD symptoms in seniors may vary, but they can include:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • General unhappiness
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hopeless feelings

If you think that you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD, or you want to find out how to beat the occasional winter blues, try these uplifting tips:

1. Embrace exercise

Exercise is a great way to beat the blues because it releases feel-good chemicals, like endorphins. In fact, research has shown that regular exercise can ease depression and anxiety in adults by helping you take your mind off your worries and build confidence. Physical activity can also give you the opportunity to interact with others in a social setting – a natural mood-lifter! But you don’t have to run a marathon or become a heavyweight lifter to reap the benefits – just strolling around the block or through the mall can make a big difference in the way you feel. Be sure to consult your doctor before you begin any new exercise routine.

Discover 13 exercises for seniors to make you feel healthier and stronger.

2. Connect with positive people

Another way to beat the winter blues is by spending time with family and friends who have a positive influence on your life. One social study shows that individuals who associate themselves with happy people are more likely to experience happiness themselves. If you start to feel blue this winter, surround yourself with joy. Make plans with your positive-thinking friends or family over a cup of hot tea or cocoa. The power of positivity can be contagious!

Are your friends and family far away? A CapTel captioned telephone for people with hearing loss can help you stay connected with those you love, even if you have trouble hearing over the phone.

3. Take a vitamin D supplement

We tend to get most of our vitamin D from the sun, so in the winter months when sunlight is scarce, you may want to take a vitamin D supplement. Several compelling research studies suggest that there’s a relationship between low vitamin D levels and depression. Taking a vitamin D supplement may improve depressive symptoms that are common in wintertime. Before you try it, consult with your doctor for supplement recommendations.

Vitamin D can also regulate your immune system and normalize blood pressure. Check out more health benefits here.

Start feeling more like yourself again with these ways to beat the winter blues. If your feelings of depression or SAD are persistent or taking a toll on your daily life, schedule an appointment to talk about it with your doctor.

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Learn more about our useful senior living and independence blog posts here.

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