Do you look out the window in mid-January and see a winter wonderland full of opportunities to try new things and create cozy moments with those you love? Or does the snow and ice outside have you counting down the days until spring flowers start blooming?
One thing is certain—whether you like winter or not, it’s here to stay for many months, depending on where you live. So even if you don’t see each snowfall as an opportunity to make hot cocoa and watch your favorite movie, you can shift your perspective so that you aren’t feeling stir-crazy all season long.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to enhance winter wellness. You might find that trying one or all of these suggestions will make you appreciate winter more this year.
Pick Up a New Hobby
The winter weather often forces us indoors, keeping us safe from slippery sidewalks and slow-moving drives. However, you don’t need to spend your time inside twiddling your thumbs, binging another show, or pulling out a puzzle from your stash. This winter, challenge yourself to pick up a new hobby or dust off a hobby you might have participated in long ago.
Check out your local senior center to see if any of their indoor events or activities interest you. You might find that you love exercises for seniors, such as pickleball or tai chi. Or you might discover your inner artist after stopping in for a painting workshop or two. If you prefer to stay close to home, consider searching the internet for senior-friendly yoga classes or directed drawing classes on YouTube.
Remember: If you don’t like something after you have tried it a few times, you don’t have to return to it. Keep trying out new classes and activities until you find something you enjoy.
→ Dive deeper and explore other tips to thrive in the winter: Download our guide, Tips to Help Seniors Weather the Winter.
Don’t Be Afraid of the Outdoors
There are winter safety tips for seniors during the winter months, such as keeping salt or ice melt in an easy-to-reach place to safely salt your stairs without stepping onto ice, ensuring your railings are secure before the first snowfall, and having a few extra resources for transportation if you feel the roads are too unsafe to drive. However, if you stay safe and dress appropriately, you might find you love being outside in the quiet winter months.
You can begin approaching the outdoors with curiosity, perhaps enjoying a cup of coffee while bundled up on your porch. Listen to the sounds of this season—they are quite different than the spring, summer, or fall. Then, take your observations on the road, strolling around the neighborhood or on a favorite path in the mid-morning or early afternoon. You might even find yourself snowshoeing or cross-country skiing by the time spring arrives.
If you are exploring outdoors, dress in warm layers, stay hydrated, and keep a trusted family member or friend aware of your plans and destination.
Make Connections a Priority
The winter weather can keep us away from a healthy social calendar. However, you don’t need to retreat into isolation this season. With the right planning, you can ensure you stay connected to the people around you, regardless of the winds raging outside.
Aim to connect in person with family members, friends, or peers at least a few times per week. If you can connect daily, that’s even better. Meeting up will take extra planning this season, as it isn’t as easy as stopping by a neighbor’s home on your summer evening walk. Try calling friends on Sunday or Monday to set up social appointments for the upcoming week. You can meet up for coffee or a meal, catch a movie, or invite them to your home.
If you are hosting at your home, you don’t have to throw a huge party to feel connected. Instead, put out a pot of coffee or hot tea and a few cookies. Conversations are the most important ingredient in a meaningful afternoon.
Use Digital Interventions in a Pinch
A video call is a great way to connect, but connecting in person will reap the most health benefits. However, if the weather is awful or you can’t get that in-person meet-up scheduled, take advantage of what technology has to offer.
Join an online support group or chatroom for adults with similar interests. Be sure to stay safe online, first checking for online groups hosted by places in your community you trust, like a senior center or place of worship. You can also schedule video calls with loved ones, but see if you can make the calls even more fun by sharing a pastime during the call. For example, can you make a date to work on the crossword puzzle with your daughter every Sunday morning or bake a new recipe with your grandson once a month?
Find an Active Community
If the winter doldrums feel more and more oppressive each year, you might need a change of scenery. Many adults move to senior living communities each winter because of the social opportunities, wellness resources, and safe sidewalks (thanks to quick snow removal). The winter season in senior living communities is full of cozy hot cocoa socials, live concerts, meals full of nutritious comfort foods, and so much more.
Ready to learn more about how to stay safe, engaged, and healthy this winter? Our guide, Tips to Help Seniors Weather the Winter, was written just for you. Download it today and make this winter your best one yet. Here’s to enjoying the winter, not just enduring it.