The winter months can be hard on anyone, but especially our senior adults who already face the challenge of feeling isolated daily. The colder weather and wintery conditions create new challenges for staying connected in person, getting outside, and keeping spirits high. In order to stave off the “winter blues” it’s important to have a game plan and take proactive measures going into this season. Keep reading for our best tips for helping anyone, but senior adults in particular, feeling positive and connected during the winter months.
Develop an action plan now.
Before the dead of winter sets in, put a plan in place for events and activities that you can look forward to. When you leave your social schedule to chance, it’s far more likely that days and weeks will pass without much outside activity. While you have the energy and motivation to stay busy and connected during the winter months, commit to social engagements that you can put on your calendar well in advance. Whether it’s for you or a loved one, you’ll see these coming up on your calendar and they will offer a bright spot to look forward to. Even if you don’t feel like sticking with your obligation when the time arises, this will provide the encouragement you need to break away from dull habits and try something new. Speaking of which…
Try something new.
Beyond just meeting up with friends for coffee or a card game, look at the winter months as an opportunity to try something new and different. Explore a hobby you’ve always wanted to try or volunteer your time toward something productive. There is a lot you can still do from the comfort of home thanks to technology that enables us to be connected from afar. Make it a goal to end the winter season having gained a new skill, friend, or pastime.
Find people to hold you accountable.
Let friends and family members know now that you need their help during the winter months to check in regularly and to provide encouragement. As the season changes, the days get shorter, and the temps drop, it can be tempting to revert to daily habits that are comfortable yet stagnant. While it may feel good to “stay in” in the moment, the effort you put forth to see other people and partake in activities will always leave you feeling far more fulfilled. The best thing you can do is to ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable for the obligations you place on your schedule that help you stay connected and get out of the house every so often. A phone call or text to check-in will go a long way!
Be receptive to help.
And finally, know when you need help and be open to receiving it. If you ask someone to visit you regularly, check-in or encourage you with opportunities for events and activities throughout the winter, make every effort to say “yes” as often as possible. What may seem uncomfortable or like extra effort at the moment will be the nudge you need to keep you out of a slump and to avoid the winter blues. Plus, saying “yes” to social offers will always give you more opportunities to make memories you’ll cherish for years to come.
With the change of any season comes a new set of challenges as well as opportunities for joy and growth. We hope this advice will help you and your loved ones more into winter confidently with a plan to seek joyful moments of connectivity.