According to the calendar, we’re only about a month into winter. That’s not good news if you’re not a fan of cool, dreary days. The winter blues are a real thing, and they can affect people who don’t suffer from depression or seasonal depression. (However, it is more common among people who experience symptoms of depression) But, there are unique factors to winter that bring on the winter blues such as being isolated, staying indoors or being sick more often.

Do You Have the Winter Blues?

As a caregiver, dealing with the winter blues won’t make your job any easier. You may be feeling tired, sluggish or down compared to the way you normally do. Summer tends to brighten our moods and encourage more social interaction, outdoor time, exercise and healthy eating with all the fresh fruits and vegetables available. Sometimes, the winter blues creep up after the holidays when the hype of family, gifts and time off work is over.

So what can you do to beat the winter blues? Take some time off for yourself! If you’re feeling blue, your loved one will pick up on your mood. You may also find that you’re more irritable and less patient with your loved one, another reason why you should take a break. You can’t be a good caregiver unless you’re feeling good yourself.

Respite Care

Respite care are designed to be flexible, so you can hire a caregiver for a few days a week or on an as-needed basis. You may find that it’s best to hire someone several hours a week during the winter, and you can re-address your schedule come spring. Taking time out for yourself will improve your mood and allow you to be a more patient and loving caregiver.

In-Home Care

If you find that respite care is an answer to your prayers, you may want to consider hiring in-home help for your loved one. In-home care is also very flexible, and you can hire this help for a few hours a week, weekends, extended days, etc. You can also choose only the services that are needed for your loved one without having to pay for services you don’t need.

For instance, your loved one may be in good physical health but requires assistance with cooking, cleaning, running errands and taking care of their pet. Sometimes, all a person needs is a companion to be with to prevent social isolation leading to depression. Or, your loved one may need the professional care by a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for hands-on assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, transfers, medication reminders, or with feeding themselves. Occasionally, a skilled nurse (RN or LPN) is needed to provide wound care, variable dosage medication administration, or other services prescribed by a physician.

If you find yourself hitting a wall this winter, don’t let the feelings bottle up inside you. The winter blues are a real thing, and you should spend time getting outdoors, going out for coffee with a friend or practicing yoga or meditation to deal with them.