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Avoiding Seasonal Affective Disorder – Let’s Beat the Winter Blues!

“If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours

– Dolly Parton

As we find ourselves right in the midst of winter, with its icy grip and chilly days, it’s no surprise that many of us may be experiencing what is commonly known as “the winter blues”.

The current season has brought us a particularly cold winter, making it all the more important to address our well-being during these frosty days. In fact, the winter season often brings with it Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a legitimate and diagnosable mental health concern experienced by many individuals. If you or your loved ones have been feeling the effects of the gloomy weather, it’s crucial to remember that you are not alone in this journey.

SAD, a form of depression, is influenced by the seasonal changes that occur. Health professionals commonly attribute the fluctuations in mood experienced by some individuals to the hormonal shifts triggered by winter. Symptoms of SAD may include a lack of energy or interest in regular activities, extreme tiredness, overeating and a craving for carbohydrate-heavy comfort foods, which can lead to weight gain.

With these challenges in mind, we have prepared some invaluable tips to help you overcome the winter blues and thrive during this particularly cold winter season. Let’s discover ways to uplift our spirits and embrace the warmth within.

Prioritise quality sleep

While getting enough sleep is crucial, it’s important to note that excessive sleep can leave you feeling lethargic. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night as an adult, and ensure children and teenagers get even more rest. Several apps are available to help you track and improve your sleep patterns. Click here to discover some of the best Sleep Apps of 2023.

embrace the morning sun

Sunlight plays a vital role in triggering our “happy hormone” called serotonin. To alleviate symptoms of SA, health professionals suggest getting up early to optimise your exposure to sunlight. Consider starting your day with a morning stroll or enjoying a cup of warmth outdoors. If the darker winter months limit your sunlit adventures, light therapy (phototherapy) treatment may be recommended by doctors. Consult your GP for advice on local dermatologists or medispas in Perth that offer such treatments.

cultivate helpful habits

Personal change is possible, and setting goals and adopting sensible habits can contribute to a healthy and happy mindset. Our carefully curated lifestyle program is designed to support our residents’ individual life goals. At The Richardson and The Queenslea we offer a wide range of activities, including exercise classes, singing and music appreciation, guided meditations, gardening and our Young at Heart Intergenerational Program, all aimed at keeping our residents engaged and striving to achieve personal fulfillment. Explore this list of apps to help you stay on track and achieve your goals throughout the colder months.

indulge in wholesome, hearty meals

As the skies darken, we often crave comfort food to boost our well-being. While foods high in carbohydrates and fats can trigger the release of mood-enhancing chemicals like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, it’s important to choose healthy options that won’t lead to overeating or unhealthy weight gain. Live Lighter offers a range of healthy meal ideas and recipes to provide comfort on those cold nights. Our residents particularly enjoy nostalgic favourites like Shepherd’s pie, expertly prepared on-site by our Chef’s Todd and Sunny, and in consultation with a dietician to ensure residents receive healthy and satisfying meals.

foster connections

Regular catch-ups and communication with loved ones have a positive impact on our mood. At The Richardson and at The Queenslea we understand that transitioning into residential care can be an emotional time for both residents and families. That’s why we offer unique support to help our residents settle in, including resident-buddies and dedicated “new resident” carers to assist with navigating their new home. Our small households provide spaces for residents to chat and bond. Our caring team, including carers, registered nurses and lifestyle team members, are always available to spend quality time, discussing topics big and small. Additionally, Oryx provides staff with access to an external emotional support program, free of charge.

Remember, sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust can alleviate worries. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression or simply needs someone to talk to, please reach out to Life Line or consult your GP, The Black Dog Institute also offers a range of support resources.

If you require any support or would like to discuss your situation or that of a loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you, ready to provide guidance and support.