Winter is the perfect time to share with loved ones for holiday meals or cozy chats by the fireplace. However, for the rest of the time, it can be difficult to find enough indoor activities for seniors to last you until spring. Aging adults especially need to make the extra effort to stay active to keep their body, mind, and emotional outlook positive.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of mood disorder related to the change in season. Symptoms include depression, fatigue, and social withdrawal, which can start in the fall and last until the start of spring. For seniors who may be less active and socially isolated, it can be a difficult challenge to overcome.
Luckily, there are many treatments, including light therapy, psychotherapy, and medication. Research shows that physical exercise and other kinds of activity can also be an effective way to combat the effects of SAD.
If you feel like you are suffering from Seasonal Depression, talk to your doctor. But if you want to get started on improving your mood today, try any of the indoor activities listed below.
It can be harder to stay active in winter months, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. By thinking creatively, you can be just as active in cold weather as you are in the height of summer.
Winter is the perfect time for baking when a sweet treat and a bit of extra heat in your home are more than welcome. Whether your specialty is cookies, cakes, bread, or anything else, your friends and family will be sure to love seeing your creations online. Taking photos of your baked goods can help you make the extra effort to make them perfect.
But what about all the leftovers? Well, as long as it's not a fragile cake, you can ship your baked goods to your loved ones anywhere in the country. They’ll be just as happy to have your famous gingerbread as you were to make it.
Green thumbs have it the hardest in winter when their favorite hobby is all but impossible. While your outdoor garden may need to wait until spring before it can really take off, starting an indoor garden can be a great way to tide you over until then. Herbs and other potted plants can thrive in winter, and even bigger plants like strawberries, beans, and tomatoes, as long as you have the space.
In the later months of winter, you can also start planning for your outdoor garden. Make lists of favorite tasks, buy a new piece of gardening equipment, order new seeds and even start them indoors before transplanting outside.
There’s no replacement for a friendly face when you’re feeling blue. Though if you’re going to invite your friends or family to come over in the cold weather, it’s always a good idea to have a snack, a warm drink, or even a full meal ready for them when they arrive.
A dinner party can be a wonderful reason for a whole crowd to gather around your dining table. And since it’s winter, you feel free to go all out with hot soup, large cuts of meat, biscuits, and whatever other comfort food you love to cook.
You don’t have to be an expert artist to try your hand at painting or drawing, and it can be the perfect way to pass an afternoon or return to day after day. The great thing about art is that you can track your progress as you go, watching your doodles turn into beautifully-rendered works.
If you want to add a little color to your palette but don’t want to invest in expensive equipment, watercolor is an option worth considering. With a modest budget and a bit of practice., you can bring dazzling scenes to life.
Balance and stability suffer as we age, which makes regular exercise more important than ever. However, it’s not always easy when we can’t spend time outside. That’s why finding an indoor workout routine is so crucial.
Chair exercises are a great place to start for those with limited experience or strength. A good routine will work for all your muscle groups, letting you gradually build strength without overtaxing yourself. While some of them use pieces of exercise equipment, there are many you can do in fifteen minutes with nothing more than a sturdy chair.
If you’re looking for a way to amp up your indoor exercise, a set of resistance bands can be just the thing you need.
Reading is one of the best ways to pass the time indoors, and the only thing that can make it better is trying it with friends. A book club can help make your reading feel more intentional, giving you an extra reason to stay focused and motivated. You can find dozens of them in your area on sites like Meetup.com, or you can start your own with a group of interested friends.
There is no end to the kinds of crafts you can enjoy in the comfort of your home, but there is one that holds a special place in the heart of many. Crocheting is a great way to pass the time and keep your hands busy and can be especially soothing for those with dementia and other memory conditions. There are plenty of simple projects that beginners can try, letting you gradually work your way up to more complex one as your skills improve.
Knitting is a bit more complicated but might be just the thing for the dedicated fiber artist looking for a challenge. It’s also the best way to make socks, sweaters, and other wearables.
Sometimes, the best way to keep yourself motivated is to find a group of like-minded people to share the challenge. There are plenty of online exercise classes that can help you train your muscles and stay connected. Aerobics and yoga can be great options for seniors who want to stay limber and heart-healthy. You can find classes tailored to your skill level and interest.
Writing is not only a way to express yourself and put your thoughts to paper. It also works your mental muscles to help you retain cognitive functioning well into old age. If you already have some experience, it could be time to write the next great American novel. Otherwise, journaling could be a good place to start.
When writing, staying motivated is key. For many writers, this means carefully choosing the right time and place to dedicate to writing each and every day. Whether that’s your kitchen table for 15 minutes at a time or a dedicated study for hours, the time you spend will gradually add up.
Whether you want to dine out or enjoy a romantic meal cooked at home, making the extra effort for a special evening works just as well in winter as it does at any other time of the year. It’s an excuse to clean up and look your best for that special someone in your life. Dinner and a movie or dinner and drinks can turn a simple meal into an event that fills your entire evening.
If you want a workout but are looking for something more relaxing, yoga can be the perfect option. Slow, controlled motions will help train your core muscles without overtaxing them or risking injury. Of course, finding the right positions is key, so be sure to read our complete guide on yoga for seniors.
Find Free Yoga Routines on YouTube
You’d be amazed at the things you can learn online these days, from arts and crafts to recipes, to home repair tasks of all shapes and sizes. Through websites like Duolingo, you can even learn a whole new language. Feel free to take it as fast or slow as you like, and choose from common languages like Spanish, French, and German, to Portuguese, Dutch, or Japanese.
Learning a new language is a great way to work parts of your brain that might not get as much attention as others. This is especially important for seniors, as keeping the mind active is the best way to keep it sharp.
You don’t need to leave the house to taste luxury. In fact, with the right tools, you can pamper yourself right at home. A face mask is a good place to start, along with scented body butter to keep your skin smooth and soft. If you want a personalized massage, finding the right massage tools can help loosen up muscles in your back, shoulders, neck, or feet.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back way to keep your mind working, puzzles and games are great options to consider. There are plenty of downloadable apps that can keep your brain active, featuring crossword puzzles, sudoku, and more. You can also go analog and get to work on a jigsaw puzzle. Of course, many of the above activities are best enjoyed with friends and family at your side.
Cooking is the perfect option for winter, as it helps fight back against boredom while also keeping your home toasty warm. Whether your specialty is sweet or savory, there are plenty of recipes worth trying.
Bread baking has taken off in popularity in recent years and can be a good hobby, even for those with no prior experience. It’s inexpensive, relatively simple to learn, and will be sure to make your friends and family happy when you gift them a freshly baked loaf.
If you’re itching to get out of the house, but it’s too cold for a brisk walk, the museum can be the perfect option. While it might get expensive after a few visits, most museums offer yearly memberships which pay for themselves after two or three trips. It can be a great value, especially if they let you bring a guest.
The great thing about museums is that they let you exercise your brain while also staying in motion. You can join a group tour to learn more about the different exhibits or go it alone and take in everything at a passing glance. Whether it’s science, art, industry, or anything else, most cities have plenty of options worth considering.
Whether your photos are kept in stacks of albums or on your computer desktop, organizing yours can be a project that’s both rewarding and fun. While it might seem overwhelming at first, finding the right process can make the task much more manageable.
For example, a scrapbook is a great way to highlight physical photographs. You can start by going through your pile and pulling out the ones that are most meaningful to you. Past them, in a book along with other keepsakes so you can look at them wherever you like. For digital photos, you can either have them printed out or organized into a digital slide show or organized into separate folders so they’re easier to access. No matter what you choose, you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of memories you can look back on whenever you like.
Not everyone needs to be the next Rembrandt to enjoy exercising their creativity. In fact, even the most simple arts and crafts can be the perfect way to exercise your memory, keep your mind active, and improve fine motor skills. Best of all, there are all kinds of crafts made for every interest and skill level. If you’re looking for ideas, try one of these:
While it’s not always easy to stay active during the winter, a little forethought can help you realize how many options there really are. We recommend choosing one or two of the suggestions listed above and planning ahead before the end of the year. This will ensure winter’s coldest months are as fun and active as possible.