While winter is a time that many spend with friends and family, it can also get you down. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million Americans suffer from depression, and many Americans of all ages feel particularly glum in the winter due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a type of depression that hits during one particular season. Lesser versions of SAD are referred to as the “Winter Blues.” Women and people who live in areas with infrequent or weak sun are more likely to suffer from SAD, according to the National Institutes of Health. Luckily, your chances of having SAD reduce as you age, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can always feel the happiness of the holiday season.
So how can you fight off seasonal sadness? By incorporating a little bit of play into your every day! Here are a few ideas to help you beat the blues:
- Cook dinner with your family or spouse instead of cooking solo. If you want to add an extra element of fun, have a themed dinner night once a week. From a French twist to a meal honoring your favorite movie, the planning and implementation of the meal can be fun for everyone!
- Take a day trip! There are plenty of things to do in and around Pittsburgh, and we will even provide the transportation. Our buses take residents to cultural events downtown and regularly go to local malls, grocery stores, hospitals and doctor’s offices.
- Spend the day with a child. They may take a lot of your energy, but spending time with grandchildren or family friends can remind you what it’s like to see the world from a child’s eyes. Take some time to enjoy coloring books and puzzles to bring out your inner kid!
- Also playful are animals! Visit a nearby animal shelter and spend some time playing with the animals. It will give you the fun of spending a day with man’s best friend, without all of the responsibility!
- Add a special ritual to your day or week. Do you LOVE spending time enjoying your morning cup of coffee? Make it even better by trying out new flavors or by finding a coffee shop drink that you can go out and enjoy once a week. If you love a particular TV show, start hosting screening parties at your home for friends. Whatever makes you happy, be sure to do more of it!
- Smile! Studies have shown that even forcing a smile can actually relieve stress.
You don’t have to be somber this season, especially if you’re a Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community resident. Residents always have the option to take part in activities like chorus, handbells, line dancing, ceramics, painting, sewing, book club, bridge, and board games, and we also have scheduled activities such as fitness classes, resident parties, special speakers and musical performances.
Please note that if you do feel that you are suffering from depression, speak with a member of our medical staff.
You’re never too old to add some fun play into your day, so start having more fun now!