As we enter a whole year of COVID-19 and with the winter season in full swing, looking after our wellbeing has never been more important as many of us are also dealing with the “winter blues”.
During these the dark and cold days, they often take a toll on our emotions without us even realising, often causing a cycle of feelings including loneliness, low energy and even depression.
What are the winter blues?
Roughly 2 million people in the UK are affected by the winter blues every year, more commonly known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is triggered largely because of the lack of sunlight and some notable symptoms include sleep problems, excessive tiredness, irritability, unsociable, overeating and depression.
How can you help your loved one?
Living alongside a pandemic and experiencing winter blues can especially be difficult amongst our elderly loved ones. If you are noticing a change in your ageing relative’s behaviour, to assist you here are our top tips that can help overcome the winter blues.
1. Welcome the sunlight
It comes to no surprise that during the colder and darker months, our bodies rely on the sunlight as a natural mood enhancer. If weather permits, we encourage getting outside as much possible, which will in turn allow you to have a brighter outlook on life.
The mental health and wellbeing our residents have always remained our top priority here at The Beeches Residential Home. Our carers spend time with every resident each day to talk about how they’re feeling and monitor their wellness, regularly encouraging residents to embrace the outside.
2. Get up and about
To stop the dark days from getting you down, one of the best ways to overcome this is to get up and about.
The older we get, the easier it is to slip into an inactive routine. For those aged between 60-80 should be getting up and about for at least 2.5 per week, averaging out to roughly 30 minutes a day.
Research studies have found that exercise may help fight off early signs of depression in the elderly. Encouraging your loved ones to get up and about for even the smallest amount of exercise can help act as a big mood booster.
3. Stay in touch with family and friends
Amongst seniors, socialising has been proven to have one of the most effective ways to improve mental health, especially during the winter months.
While visits are temporarily halted at our home, we still encourage our resident’s families to have regular phone and video calls with their loved ones, as this can help eliminate the winter blues.
Take a look at our other most recent blog on ways on how to stay connected with your loved ones during these challenging times.
4. Keep busy with hobbies
Whether you are keeping busy with a favourite hobby or learning a new one, studies have shown the act of participating in purposeful activities helps keep the mind active decreasing the chances of depression by at least 30% and can even improve communication and relationships.
Here at The Beeches Residential Home, we provide a whole roster of group activities for our residents that help them unwind from the day. Activities such as art therapy including drawing, painting, knitting, or writing can help allow our residents to concentrate and look forward to being creative than feeling blue.
5. Seek help
If your loved ones are still struggling to cope with the winter blues, there are many charities and helplines out there to support elderly individuals looking for mental health advice.
The mental health and wellbeing of our residents have always remained our top priority, therefore our carers spend time with every resident each day to discuss how they’re feeling and monitor their wellness.
Sometimes our loved ones find it hard to admit their feelings to friends and families, by providing them with a list of helplines they can reach out to can greatly help them.
For mental health and general advice, call Age UK: 0800 678 1602
For loneliness and general advice, call Independent Age: 0800 319 6789
For mental health support, call the Samaritans: 116 123
For befriending and mental health advice, call The Silver Line: 0800 470 80 90
For grief and bereavement advice, call Cruse: 0808 808 1677
If you are interested in finding out more about The Beeches Residential Home, our friendly team would be happy to talk to you via 01359 230773 or if you fill out our contact form a member of our team will get in touch.