With time change behind us and cool weather finally descending on Central Virginia, everyone at Brandermill Woods is looking ahead to the holidays. This is one of our favorite times of year, a time for all of us to relax and enjoy good food and fellowship.
Although it’s a season of celebration, it’s also a time that can strain our mental health—particularly older adults. Shorter days mean we are getting less sunshine and vitamin D, and we may be exercising less and easting a little more comfort food than is good for us.
To make sure the holiday seasons is the best it can be, here are five tips to consider from now until New Year’s:
- Soak up the sunshine. One cause of seasonal affective disorder, a.k.a. the winter blues, is lack of sunlight. Not only does light enhance our mood, it is also a great source of vitamin D to boost our mood and immunity. With the days short and winter clouds settling in, consider buying a sunlamp for a little extra kiss of warmth in your life.
- Keep moving. Exercise is one of the most important aspects of wellness at any age. Whether it’s resistance training, a daily swim, yoga or a walk with friends, getting the blood pumping will release those endorphins to keep your spirits high and your heart in optimal condition.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables. It’s easy to do in the summer when fresh fruits and veggies are in season and at the front of the grocery store. But it’s arguably more important in the winter, not only because a full plate of veggies will fill you up before the breads, pies and soups, but also for the immunity boost of vitamins and minerals during cold and flu season.
- Find time for friends. Isolation is nobody’s friend, so make sure you get out and socialize regularly. Whether it’s happy hour, a church picnic, a game night or a nice lunch out, nothing beats a good laugh with friends or family. We recommend that in addition to taking care of yourself, it’s important to check in on your friends and family to make sure everyone has a place to go for the big holiday dinner.
- Take time to celebrate. If you are not yet retired, it’s easy to keep working on video calls through evenings and weekends, so be sure to take some time for yourself to unplug from work and the news. In addition to celebrating with food and friends, the holidays are a time to rejuvenate. So crank up the Brenda Lee or Johnny Mathis, put on your dancing shoes and enjoy a toast to the holidays!