Winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21, but the Pacific Northwest is already gripped by chilling cold and that pervasive gray sky so often filled with raindrops! For some, this is a time in the doldrums. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are some ideas to keep a gray mood away:
1. Stay connected! If the season has dampened your spirits, then visiting with family members, neighbors, or your Cascade Companion Care caregiver can be a source of daily contact and enrichment. If you are connected to a faith community, you can request a visit from a pastor or parishioner, or your Cascade Companion Care caregiver can take you to services. Or perhaps a visit to your local Senior Center for a game of bingo or a bus tour may give you the opportunity to develop some new friendships. The key is not to become isolated, but to draw on the meaningful connections you have made over a lifetime and perhaps create some new ones!
2. Reach out! Nothing lifts the spirit more than knowing that you have brightened the day of someone else. Many times, seniors feel that illness or disability prevents them from making an impact. However, many younger people live such hectic lives that they miss many opportunities to bless others. The golden years bring golden opportunities to reach out with a letter or card, a donation to a worthy cause, a prayer for someone in distress, an hour of mentoring a younger relative, a cheering phone call, and many other acts of kindness. A dear elder friend of mine taped herself reading children’s stories, with a “Beep” at every page turn, so that children whose parents do not speak English could have the book in their lap, turn on the tape, and hear the story in English. Her narrated tapes were received at the library of an underprivileged elementary school and packaged with the books for check out. Another senior clipped coupons and donated them to her local American Legion post, which then distributed them to sailors stationed in the Everett area. The possibilities to do good and act as “angels in disguise” are as endless as your imagination!
3. Stay active! Northwest winters can make us want to curl up in a ball and hibernate until it’s all over! This is well and good for bears, but not humans! Physical activity of any kind improves your mood and can help you maintain your current levels of strength and mobility. Your Cascade Companion Care caregiver can help you think of appropriate ways to get moving, even if it means moving your limbs from a seated position. Your brain will reward you whether you are at home or out and about.
4. Eat well! Along with the comforts of hot cocoa and steaming soups, we need to boost our nutrition during seasons of reduced sunlight. Bastyr University suggests focusing on protein, B vitamins, green leafy vegetables and whole grains (www.bastyr.edu). Also, supplements of vitamin D3 are important to help boost your immune system. Talk with your family and your Cascade Companion Care caregiver about filling that shopping list with sustaining foods.
We hope these tips help you enjoy each day of the coming months to the fullest!