With the holiday season now in the rearview mirror and the warmth and promise of spring still a couple of months away, January and February are prime times for the winter blues to set in.
What are the Winter Blues?
Seasonal affective depression (SAD), the proper name for the winter blues, is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. While seasonal affective depression can set in at any time, most commonly SAD sets in during the fall and winter months as the days are shorter and the temperatures outdoors start to dip. There are symptoms to look for, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What are the symptoms?
- Low energy or tiredness
- Trouble getting along with others
- Enhanced sensitivity to rejection
- Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
- Appetite changes
- Weight gain
Who is at risk?
Although studies have found younger people most often experience the winter blues, seniors are susceptible depending on their lifestyles. Those who are less mobile, not physically active and unable to do certain things on their own are especially at risk to suffering from SAD.
As the winter blues is a form of depression, medication and therapy might be necessary depending on the severity of the symptoms. However, for those who suffering from less severe symptoms, a number remedies can be used to help overcome the winter blues.
At-home remedies to try:
- Let the light in. Open blinds and sit near bright windows to maximize exposure to the sun. While it may be cold outside, the bright sun is sure to warm your heart.
- Go outside. Due to mobility issues many seniors face, it goes without saying being outside on frigid and icy days can be dangerous for some. However, when conditions allow, bright sunlight and fresh air can lift spirits when the opportunity allows.
- Exercise. Physical activity is not only good for the body, but it is also good for the mind as it helps relieve stress and anxiety.
- Stay connected. The cold and darkness of winter makes it easy to be isolated, but frequent social interaction will help lift your spirits.
If you are unable to shake off the winter blues after trying these remedies, please contact your medical provider. Depression is a serious ailment and should not be taken lightly.