January can be a tricky time – the festivities of Christmas are behind us; it’s cold and (usually) miserable weather outside; and the lack of daylight can make it difficult to get out and about as usual. It’s very common that these circumstances can lead to a sense of gloom and lethargy. This is especially true for some of our residents, who might have mobility difficulties, or be spending their first January in our homes.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! We do our utmost to make sure our homes are filled with fun, colour and people during this time of year, with plenty of social and outdoor activities designed to keep the blues at bay. However, if you want to help too, we’ve come up with some top tips that can help you support your loved one through this sometimes-difficult time of year.
A Sunny Disposition
Sunlight is one of the most effective remedies for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a common issue that affects our mood during the cycles of the seasons. SAD usually affects people during the winter months, as shorter days, reduced sunlight, and fewer outings can worsen the symptoms. Sunlight has been shown to boost your mood and anyone can benefit from spending just a few hours a day outside. Many of our homes have large conservatories and gardens for those who are unable to make it outside, so they can still get their daily dose of Vitamin D. So, next time you visit, why not take a short stroll around our gardens, or in one of our local parks, with your loved one? It could be an added boost of feel-good sunlight for both of you!
Let There Be Light
For an extra light boost, purchasing a light box for your loved one’s room is a great way to get all the benefits of sunlight in a safe and secure environment. Especially when the sun is determined not to make an appearance.
Taking Up a New Hobby
January is a great time to stretch ‘brain muscles’ by taking up a new hobby. We have a wealth of activities organised by our dedicated Activities and Lifestyle Facilitators. From craft activities to organised walks, you can find out more about what’s going on by looking at the noticeboards in our homes. Why not encourage your loved one to take part in an activity they wouldn’t normally consider; you’d be very welcome to join in and learn something new too!
It can be difficult for older people to get a good night’s sleep, and sleep is so important to ensuring we have the motivation and energy to get outside, or take part in activities. Help your loved one get the sleep they need by creating a relaxing and soothing environment in their rooms. You could treat them to some warm winter pyjamas; a lavender room diffuser to help them drift off peacefully; some delicious camomile tea bags to help them wind down; or even bring in an electric blanket from home to keep them warm and snug through the night.
Introducing some potted greenery to your relative’s room is an easy and practical way to boost their mood during January. Plants have been proven to improve air quality, reduce stress, absorb noise and make us feel more creative. Taking care of, and nurturing plants, is also a great activity for your loved one, giving them a sense of accomplishment as they prune, water and take care of living things.
If you’re worried about your loved one’s mood, please speak to a member of our team, who will be only too happy to listen to your concerns and help to come up with a plan of action.