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Ways to keep your spirits up

It's not unusual to feel a bit blue in the winter months. When the weather's miserable and the evenings are darker, it can be harder to get out and about and do the things you enjoy. 

We asked people from ages 65 to 95 what helps them beat the winter blues. Why not give their suggestions a go?

Stay connected

Try to keep to your usual routine as much as possible. If you can’t visit friends or family, phone them, use email or try video call services like Skype or FaceTime. If getting out and about feels difficult, why not ask if others could visit you a little more over winter?

Your local Age UK or community centre may also have regular meet-ups you could attend.

“It’s quite important to take the time to see family and keep up with social groups, and to try to get to know other people.”

Do something you enjoy every day

Settle in with a favourite book or audio book. Do a puzzle in the paper or online. Try your hand at writing, pick up a bit of knitting or tune into an afternoon radio play. See if your Local Age UK offers activities which interest you, you could find a new hobby. Find something that makes you feel good and make time for it.

Read our page outlining why hobbies are so important.

"If I'm feeling depressed, I say 'right, what am I going to do?' I get a good book or see a friend."

Keep moving

Being active – even just a little bit – is proven to help give you boost. A quick walk down the street, dance around the kitchen or satisfying stretch in bed or a chair are all good pick-me-ups. Our being active section can help you find an activity that suits you. 

If you have a long term condition or find exercise difficult, moving more is important and there is something for everyone. The We Are Undefeatable campaign has plenty of ideas to help you get started.

"I love to dance, sometimes just to the music on TV – even if it is just a leg tapping. It helps you stay positive."

Have a natter

A regular chat with a friend can make a huge difference to how we feel. We can share stories, catch up on the latest news and even have a bit of a moan when we need it! If you'd like to make a new friend, Age UK may be able to help.

Find out about our weekly friendship calls

See if your local Age UK runs a befriending service

If you are feeling lonely you are not alone and there are things you can do. Read our advice and take the first step in combatting loneliness.

"Getting a phone call, or making a phone call – it's lovely."

Don’t ignore your feelings

If you’ve been feeling down for a while and it’s stopping you from doing the things that matter, making you feel listless or like you don’t have any energy, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Share how you’re feeling with a friend or your doctor, and many Local Age UKs offer services such as counselling that can help. There’s no shame in admitting you need a little more support.

Read more about depression and anxiety

Read more about seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Read more about NHS talking therapies

"Between January and March, for the first time ever I found it quite depressing – the short days, the grey weather – it was the first time I ever noticed."

More ways to stay happy in winter

Author Helen Russell shares how people around the world manage to stay happy in even the coldest, darkest conditions.

We're here to help

You can order printed copies of any of our guides and factsheets by calling our advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also offer support and specialist advice through the advice line and at over 130 local Age UKs.

The development of this informational webpage and video was supported by an educational grant from Seqirus.

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Last updated: Aug 19 2020

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