A new year is here, the holidays are officially behind us, and winter is in full swing. Add to this, lockdowns in many areas of the country to control the pandemic, many people may be experiencing a case of the winter blues. Whether this be feelings of sadness, fatigue, or loneliness, many people feel off. In fact, approximately 1 in 4 Canadians experiences some form of seasonal depression around this time of year. The good news is, there are things you can do to help alleviate the winter gloom by improving your physical and mental health.
Put pen to paper
Whether it's writing memoirs, poetry, keeping a journal, documenting feelings, or recounting joyful events, writing will allow you to release your emotions and be entertained. Writing can have positive effects on both physical and mental health. It can be particularly helpful in releasing emotions and deep feelings. It can also lead to positive behaviour change by getting people to think differently about certain situations.
Consider starting a virtual writing group with some family members or friends to challenge yourself to write a little bit every day on a topic that matters to you. Plan a weekly, online meet-up and share your writing with one another.
Play a board game
There are many options when it comes to board games – logic games, numbers-based games, games of strategy, etc. In addition to the joy they bring when playing them, they also have positive effects on knowledge, cognitive functions, physical activity, anxiety, and severity of Alzheimer's disease (to name just a few). Consider dusting off one of your board games to play with members of your household or trying a digital version and play with family and friends virtually. It’s a great way to break social isolation and have a bit of fun!
Try Nordic walking
Nordic walking is a type of walking using poles that look like those used in cross country skiing. This form of walking exercise originated in Finland, where it was developed as a summer conditioning program for cross-country skiers. Eventually, it grew in popularity across Europe and North America. It is particularly well-suited to older adults, and research has shown it provides a better total fitness result relative to regular walking and resistance training in healthy older adults. Just remember to maintain a safe distance of 2 meters from people outside of your household while exercising outdoors.
Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Find an activity that is safe and accessible and make it a part of your daily or weekly routine. Maintaining physical and mental health is an important part of healthy aging. To learn more about the benefits of these activities, read our featured resources below.