The transition from Autumn to Winter can be an exciting and fun time, full of holiday cheer, and family visits. The cooler temperatures of winter provide perfect opportunities for cuddling by the fireplace, reading a good book, and sipping some hot tea. Looking forward to seeing friends and relatives is a big highlight of the whole year. Unfortunately for many, an unwelcome guest sometimes makes a visit; the winter blues.
Once the holidays are over, and family goes back, winter aches, pains, depression, and feeling fatigued sometimes happen. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is sometimes experienced after the holiday glow is over, and sunshine seems to be at an all time low. It is a form of depression that is experienced especially during the winter months, and comes in cycles. Feeling a loss of energy, eating more frequently, picking unhealthy foods, and general fatigue and weakness all are symptoms of SAD. The amount of daylight during the winter has a direct correlation for experiencers of this disorder. The good news is that there are ways to help!
Staying especially active during the winter months helps to reduce the effects of SAD. Seniors who live in retirement communities that have activities planned regularly, and encourage movement and physical wellbeing like The Manse, help to ensure happier, healthier seniors. The mix of social atmosphere, 3 healthy meals served regularly, and a comfortable cozy environment help to ensure residents at The Manse will not worry as much about seasonal affective disorder. The sunny skies of the Central Coast of California see very mild winters with plenty of beach days, which are easier to retire in for people who have painful joints in cold weather, and need more sun and activity. The wonderful ocean air and clean environment help residents of The Manse stay happy in retirement.
When the cold has settled in and the sun isn’t shining as bright as it could, there are ways to improve the SAD symptoms. Light box therapy is one way. Using a light box is an easy way to introduce extra light and help relieve the sadness. One of the reasons winter causes the blues, is because having less sunlight makes the natural sleep hormones and circadian rhythms out of whack. Melatonin production overtakes and causes drowsiness and lethargy. Sitting in front of a light box for at least 30 minutes a day really makes a difference, can help regulate sleep better, and make the day much brighter, literally! Light therapy is so helpful that some say it is equivalent to taking an antidepressant!
Vitamin D deficiency is one of the major reasons why SAD can happen, especially in the elderly population. Making sure that plenty of extra vitamin D is on hand during the winter months, and using a therapy lamp are good ideas to try, if seasonal affective disorder happens to loved ones.
The Manse on Marsh
475 Marsh St.
San Luis Obispo, CA