Reasons to be cheerful when the seasons change
As the nights draw in and the mornings get darker, it can make even those of us with the sunniest dispositions feel a little glum. But there's still lots to look forward to at this time of year, as well as practical things you can do to make the winter months more pleasurable.
Autumn colours and winter wonders
There's beauty to be found at every time of year. From the reds and golds of the leaves turning to the magic of a spider's web gleaming on a frosty morning, sometimes it's the littlest things that can lift our spirits.
Time to connect with others
Winter can make us feel more isolated, but there are lots of ways to keep in touch. From email and text message to a good old-fashioned post, try to find ways to reach out to friends and family. Age UK's Call in Time service offers anyone over 60 the opportunity to receive a weekly phone call from a like-minded volunteer. It's a great way to make a new friend and enjoy regular conversation.
Would you like to receive a friendly, weekly call?
Sign up for Call in Time - our free telephone befriending scheme.
Christmas, Hanukah, Diwali...this time of year is full of celebrations, bringing colour, light and laughter to darker days.
There's nothing like a hearty stew or steaming bowl of soup to make you feel cosier on a dreary day. And it's really important to eat well through the winter months. Having at least one hot meal a day can help us stay healthy. Putting together a hot meal doesn't have to be hard – get some inspiration from our recipes.
If you find it difficult to get out to the shops in winter, doing your food shop online might help. Or see if your local Age UK could support you.
The pleasure of a good book
If winter means you tend to stay indoors more, books can be a wonderful way of transporting yourself to another place. There are even services that deliver books and audio books to your door. See if the Royal Voluntary Service runs one where you live.
Lots of people enjoy knitting and crochet during the colder months (and it's not just for women!) We're always looking for people to help our Big Knit campaign by knitting little woollen hats for innocent smoothie bottles. Every hat helps bring in much needed donations for Age UK. Why not download a free pattern and give it a go?
Join the Big Knit this winter
We need knitters to make little bobble hats for smoothie bottles! It's quick, easy and lots of fun.
The promise of spring
If finding things to enjoy about winter proves too much, keep in mind that spring will come – and with it warmer weather, the first blooms of tulips and daffodils, and green leaves unfolding on the trees.
Now's the perfect time to plant bulbs in your garden, or in a pot that you can keep on your doorstep or windowsill. It's a nice way to plan for the time after winter and give yourself something to look forward to seeing. Try your local garden centre, supermarket or order some online.
The poet Edith Nesbitt captures the turning of winter to spring beautifully in her poem The Promise of Spring. It's a good verse to keep in mind when winter's at its worst.
"Warm shall nests be again,
Winter's behind us;
Springtime shall find us,
Taking our hands,
Lead us away from the cold and the snow,
Into the green world where primroses grow."
Feeling particularly low?
If you find you get very down in winter, you might find our information on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) helpful. Your doctor is also there to support you if you feel low.