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Senior News: Tips to chase off the winter doldrums

I have been fighting a cold this last week, and on Friday I finally started feeling better.

Was it because I was drinking plenty of fluids? Getting extra sleep? Or was the cold medicine finally kicking in? Maybe. But I realized what seemed to make the most difference was that the sun was shining!

Do you often feel more motivated, energized and in a better mood when the sun has broken through the clouds? And does it sometimes get you down when the sun becomes that friend who runs off to spend the winter in Arizona, leaving behind months of inversions and overcast skies?

Feeling a little down during the winter months is not unusual. But for a few people it may be more than just the winter blues. They may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.

Symptoms of SAD can include a depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, changes in sleep and appetite, a loss of pleasure in activities you once loved, and even thoughts of death or suicide.

If you experience these types of feelings causing disruptions in your life, you should reach out to your primary care provider or a mental health professional because treatments are available.

For rest of us, there are other things we can do to lift our spirits.

Suggestions include getting outside more often, trying to get more sunshine (although you may have to drive to Dufur or Mt. Hood), getting plenty of sleep, practicing relaxation and keeping up with your physical exercise.

During the winter it is easy to get stuck inside, adding pounds and moving slower. But the Mid-Columbia Senior Center offers several movement classes so you don’t lose “your get up and go” over the winter months. Classes range from Tai Chi to Zumba Gold with Chair Yoga, Strength Yoga and Strong Women in between.

Planning a healthier lifestyle during the winter months is always a good idea. Try to stay active and engaged, even when you might just want to stay under the covers in a nice warm bed all day.

One way to get outside is to visit a bazaar. They keep cascading through the holiday season, and one of my favorites is Habitat for Humanity’s Annual Christmas Bazaar on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 to 2 p.m. at the UCC Church.

Besides a variety of local vendors and baked goods, you won’t want to miss their always popular Soup and Pie Luncheon for $6. This year they have also added the “Festival of the Wreaths,” including wreaths made by the local banks and credit unions.

If music is more to your taste, Nehemiah Brown will be performing his Christmas Concert at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. His appearance is sponsored by The Dalles Health and Rehabilitation.

The Center’s annual Christmas Breakfast, sponsored by the Center’s friends Dean Dollarhide and Dennis Morgan, will be Dec. 15. The menu will include “All-You-Can-Eat” pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage plus fruit and your favorite beverage.

The cost is $6 for the general public, or just $3 for children 12 and under.

The four animated Disney films that were among the top ten grossing films of the 1950’s, listed in order of gross earnings, were Lady and the Tramp (1955), Peter Pan (1953), Cinderella (1950) and Sleeping Beauty (1959). I received correct answers from Cheri Brent, Jeanne Pesicka, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket, Ruth Radcliffe.

From the week before, the only answer I could find was another from Cheri Brent, who correctly noted that the country singer who started playing honky-tonk, moved to the smoother Nashville sound, and over a time period of three decades recorded hits including “Release Me,” “For the Good Times,” and “You’re the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” was Ray Price.

For the next question, we’ll stick with movies for a couple more weeks. If I asked my kids who the most popular movie stars are today, I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize half of their names. But my kids probably wouldn’t recognize Julie Christie, who starred in several box-office hits in the 60’s.

For this week’s “Remember When” question, what 1965 epic romantic drama (directed by David Lean, set in Russia between the years prior to WWI and the Russian Civil War of 1917–1922, and based on the 1957 Boris Pasternak novel of the same name) did Christie star in? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send your answer or the back of the score for “Lara’s Theme.”

Well, it’s been another week trying to pay attention to where I am in life. Until we meet again, you know you are getting older when your memories are found in museums.

“I still have a full deck; I just shuffle slower now.”

—Author Unknown


Thursday (6): Baked Potato Bar with Chili (Music by Tom Graff)

Friday (7): Chicken Fried Steak

Monday (10): Stroganoff over Noodles

Tuesday (11): Turkey with Dressing and Gravy (Nehemiah’s Christmas Concert from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

Wednesday (12): Taco Casserole (Homemade Soup and Salad Bar)


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