Beat the Blues with These Senior-Friendly Winter Hobbies

Sometimes the winter blues can creep up on us before we even realize what’s happening.  We may experience a gloomy feeling throughout the cold months, though the reason isn’t completely understood; perhaps it’s the cold days that force you to spend more time indoors, or maybe it’s the fear of a weakened immune system.  Other reasons may include fewer hours of daylight or holiday seasons spent missing a loved one.  Though the winter blues are generally milder than their counterpart, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), they shouldn’t be ignored or disregarded.

One of the best ways to boost your mood is to fill your time with meaningful activities and relationships.  We’ve compiled a list of hobbies that are sure to make your winter wonderful!

Get Moving!

Exercise is a sure-fire way to brighten your day.  When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which act as a natural pain-killer and stress-reliever.

They’re responsible for what’s known as the “runner’s high” and tend to make you feel refreshed and happy.  No matter what your ability level may be, you’re certain to find a form of exercise that will interest you.  Here are a few low-impact activities that are great to participate in during the winter months:

One of the best ways to boost your mood is to fill your time with meaningful activities and relationships.  We’ve compiled a list of hobbies that are sure to make your winter wonderful!two adults practicing their yoga meditation 

Indoor Yoga This is a great activity to do independently or in a group setting.  It requires little to no equipment and can be completed in the comfort of your own home.  Yoga can be adapted to accommodate all levels and is a great way to relax and ease any tension you may be experiencing.  As with any exercise, the goal is always to improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and mobility; without a doubt, yoga checks off all of these boxes, and more! There are definitely some yoga accessories you might find useful to help your practice. But overall, all you need is a mat and some youtube videos.

Swimming We would 100% recommend an indoor pool or a heated pool during the winter months.  You can partake in a group water aerobics class or independently swim laps.  Either way, swimming will increase your heart rate while taking it easy on your joints.

Walking Of course it’s hard to beat an outdoor walk on a beautiful day, but walking indoors can still be equally fulfilling.  If you can catch some sunshine on a mild winter day, by all means, take it to the streets!  If not, find a treadmill, indoor track or shopping mall and get some laps in– you’ll thank yourself after.

Dancing It’s not just for ballerinas!  Dancing is actually a very effective, and fun, form of exercise!  Grab a partner and try out some Salsa dancing, or pop in a Jazzercise video and feel the beat.  Whichever you choose to do, let loose, and have a good time– chances are, you won’t even realize you’re exercising because you’ll be having so much fun!

Lend a Hand!

adult woman helping children learn how to readSharing your time and talents is undoubtedly one of the most fulfilling ways to spend your time. Volunteering is proven to help boost self-esteem and self-confidence in people of all ages, especially older adults, by providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment.  Some studies even show physical health benefits, such as lowered blood pressure.  If you’re interested in volunteer opportunities within your community, here are a few places you can look:

Your local food pantry/Samaritan Center/Habitat for Humanity These organizations are usually in need of someone to help collect, sort, organize, and price (when applicable) all of the inventory coming in from the community.

Local Churches If there isn’t an immediate need for volunteers within the church, then chances are they’ll be able to point you in the direction of an organization in need.  Churches are usually affiliated with a number of charities within your area that may need a helping hand.

Tutoring/Mentoring Opportunities Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization that provides mentors to youth in need of extra support.  You can go directly to their website if you’re interested in getting involved.

Local Hospitals Hospitals usually have several different types of volunteer opportunities, from baby rockers to greeters to Eucharistic ministers and more!

Learn a New Skill… or Refine an Old Passion!

musical instrument being played to help relaxWhen the temperatures are frigid outside, the warmth and comfort of your own home is very enticing.  Spending your time immersed in an engaging activity, while learning something new, is the perfect way to take on the day!  Studies show that learning a new skill can help you cognitively (as well as your overall mood) and can even help reduce your chances of dementia.

Pick up a musical instrument Enroll in music classes, try at-home tutorials, or sit down with a talented friend or family member.  You may surprise yourself and discover a hidden talent you never knew you had!

Painting/Drawing/Knitting Try your hand at a new craft that you’ve never attempted before.  This day and age, there are countless “how to books”, online tutorials, and YouTube videos that allow you to follow step by step directions at the click of a button.

Learn a Foreign Language Perhaps you took beginner French or Spanish lessons back in high school but haven’t brushed up on the language since then.  Now is the perfect time to revisit the subject; programs such as Rosetta Stone or Duolingo are easily accessible and user-friendly.

Play Games!

puzzle pieces laid out for someone to play with during the winterAs they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt, so be sure to keep the games within your comfort level and ability level.  We wouldn’t recommend tackle football or any other physical contact sports, but that still leaves countless options.  Staying active will also prevent you from spending to much time in front of the television which is proven to have negative effects on our senior population.  If you’re looking to stay indoors, here are a few fun activities that you can partake in, either individually, or in a group setting.

Bowling If you’re feeling nostalgic and want to step back into yesteryears, head to the bowling alley and have a ball!  If your strength isn’t what it used to be, ask for a ball ramp to assist you in the game.

Board Games Sit in front of a crackling fire and pass the time with a classic like Monopoly, Scrabble, Checkers, or Chess.  Not only do board games provide hours of entertainment, but they also challenge you to implement thought-provoking strategies, helping to keep your mind engaged!

Card Games Much like board games, card games are a wonderful way to put your mind to work, while having a good time.  Depending on the game, you can play independently, with a partner, or in a group setting.

Book Clubs There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading individually but starting or joining a book club can take reading to the next level!  It allows for not only great company, but also creates an opportunity for sharing and discussing new ideas!

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