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3 ways to beat the winter blues

January 2021 Share with   facebook   twitter

Helpful tips from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

A new year has arrived, the holidays are officially behind us and winter is in full swing. With containment in many parts of the country to control the pandemic, many people may face the winter blues. Whether it's feelings of sadness, fatigue, or loneliness, many people feel bad. In fact, about 1 in 4 Canadians suffer from some form of seasonal depression at this time of year. The good news is that there are a few things you can do to ease the winter gloom by improving your physical and mental health.

Put the pen on the paper
Whether it's writing memoirs, poetry, journaling, documenting feelings, or recounting joyful events, writing will allow you to release your emotions and keep you entertained. Writing can have positive effects on physical and mental health. It can be particularly useful for releasing deep emotions and feelings. It can also lead to positive behavior change by causing people to think differently about certain situations.

Consider starting a virtual writing group with family or friends to challenge yourself to write a little bit each day on a topic that is close to your heart. Schedule a weekly online meeting and share your writing.

Play a board game
There are many options when it comes to board games - logic games, number games, strategy games, etc. In addition to the joy they bring to playing, they also have positive effects on knowledge, cognitive function, physical activity, anxiety, and the severity of Alzheimer's disease (to name only a few). Consider dusting off one of your board games to play with members of your household, or try a digital version and play virtually with family and friends. It's a great way to break social isolation and have a little fun!

Try Nordic walking
Nordic walking is a type of walking using poles that resemble 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. It has gained popularity in Europe and North America. It is particularly well suited to older people, and research has shown that it provides better results than regular walking and resistance training in healthy older people. Remember to maintain a distance of two meters from other walkers when exercising outdoors.

Don't let the winter blues get you down. Find a safe activity and accessible and make it part of your daily or weekly routine. Maintaining physical and mental health is an important part of optimal aging. 

Do you value credible health and social information? McMaster University has developed the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal to give you access to research-based information to help you age well and manage your health conditions. Visit the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal for the latest evidence-based information to support healthy aging. 
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