It’s inevitable: when summer begins to wind down, we often find ourselves winding down with it. We might experience a little let down—sad that the days are getting shorter, so much of what we had to look forward to in the summer has now passed, and mobility and flexibility will soon be hampered by less kind weather.
Seniors can sometimes experience these feelings more intensely, as family visits end and loved ones go back to school or their jobs. It’s easy to start feeling a little blue and to not look forward to the long Alaskan winter. That’s why it’s especially important, at this time of year, to look for stimulating and fun activities to help keep our spirits up and our bodies active!
Luckily, in Alaska, August and September have many redeeming qualities. We can still enjoy the bounty of summer, with a little break from the chaos that comes along with it.
Here are five senior-friendly ways to prevent the end of summer blues:
Celebrate the Work of the Midnight Sun
No, we don’t mean celebrate our work (although we’re okay with that). We mean that the summer sun produces amazing flowers and vegetables that we can truly marvel at. It’s also impressive to see how productive we Alaskans are during the short summer. What better way to do so than to visit the Alaska State Fair and the Alaska Botanical Garden? Both offer a variety of displays that are interesting and educational, plus it’s easy to get around each venue and the flexible schedules allow us to take as much or as little time as we want to enjoy them.
Start Thinking in Layers
The coming cool weather makes us think about adding layers. In Alaska, traditional clothing and fibers really show the genius and artistry of our state’s heritage. Take Qiviut, for example. A trip to the Musk Ox Farm will teach you all about it, and you’ll leave feeling warmer, even if you don’t leave with a garment made from it.
Tip: this and other tourist-focused attractions often offer discounts on the shoulder seasons.
It might also be time to take a knitting class or start gathering friends together for knitting circles. Not only do hands-on hobbies help dexterity, but the social part of it is also a bonus—keeping us engaged and helping us to feel less lonely when our families go back home.
Nourishment is about feeding all parts of you. We know that proper nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and particularly important for our aging bodies, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get creative with it. Take a cooking class and start learning skills that you can refine over the winter months. Try asking a friend or loved one to join you at Let’s Cook Alaska or the Allen & Peterson Cooking School.
We know, it’s easy to get lazy and as the summer ends, we start to feel the urge to hibernate, like our bear neighbors. That’s exactly why it’s important to start a new exercise routine or refresh the one you have. If you gather momentum and maintain your energy going into the winter, you’re more likely to come through it healthier and happier. Start taking a different route on your walk, or try a restorative yoga class. Better yet, sign up for our senior fitness program: Older, Wiser, Fitter, Faster.
Stick Your Nose in It.
By “it”, we mean the book or the classroom, library or lecture hall, for that matter. You are never too old to learn, and there are many studies that show how adult learning benefits mental health and cognitive function, as we age. This doesn’t mean you have to sign up for college (but it’s great if you do)! Many seniors prefer a more informal setting in which they can learn a skill or knowledge that they can use right away.
- Start a book club or join one that focuses on an area of interest to you.
- Make sure you have a library card and plan to check out one book a week.
- Sign up for any number of hands-on classes offered by Parks and Recreation or other local entities.
- Attend lectures at the Anchorage Museum or the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
- Take time to tutor your grandchildren or other young people in your life.
End of summer doesn’t have to mean end of fun for a while. It is a great time to change our focus and become newly inspired. Hopefully, these ideas will help you get started!