Overcoming the Winter Blues

There is no denying it - Winter is here. In my area, it seems like winter lasts forever; and even into April/May we can't trust the weather - stray snow storms come out of nowhere to kill your spring anticipation (and plants). With the winter comes darkness and a certain gloom about the atmosphere. You barely start the day and soon it's over, and for some people, they wake up and it's dark, spend the whole day at work, then come home when it's dark again. Here are some ideas to get you through the winter.

Bring a little green into your home - This is my Winter 2020/21 project! I have two plant shelves powered by LED lights. For now, I'm growing some vegetables and a few rare seed varieties. You can eventually expand it into a side hustle - selling cuttings, seeds, or whole vegetables.

Eat Balanced meals - The Canada's Food Guide is a great source to get healthy eating tips from. With beautiful visuals, it offers recipes, tips, and advice on building healthy eating habits. You can also click here to view the Food Guide snapshot in several other languages.

Vitamin D supplements - Available at your grocery store, pharmacy and health food store, these supplements can help you get the vitamins you need on sunless days. Consult with a health professional before starting, to make sure it's right for you.

Light Therapy - These special lamps are said to help improve your mood, focus and energy.

Create a Relaxation Spot in your home - Pick an unused corner in your room, and follow the principles of a Snoezelen room. Purchase fairy lights and cushions, Gather your favourite essential oil scents and a diffuser, and create a warm, welcoming environment. You can also pick up sensory items like stress balls, light wands or fidget toys.

Stay involved socially - Try to check in with others daily; whether it's with your family/friends in person, or online contacts.

Take advantage of good weather days - Make it a habit to check the weather at least weekly. If you find a day where the temperature is tolerable and it seems like it'll be a clear day, get outside! Go for a walk, order lunch and sit outside, or go on a photography mission. Clear your mind and your lungs.

See a mental health professional if your mood is too low - For many, the winter months can be reminders of trauma, financial and resource insecurity, societal pressures and substance use struggles. There is no shame in getting some extra help during this time. Speak to your doctor, outreach centre or local AA/NA chapters if you are overwhelmed.

Vacation if you have the financial means- 2020/2021 is not the year for moving around, but once "coronatime" is finally over, you can look into vacation packages in warm locations. Possible warm destinations could be Cuba, Maldives, Morocco or United Arab Emirates.

Don't oversleep - It's important to not let the days blend into each other. Wake up before 9 to start your day, take a short mid-afternoon "power nap" if you absolutely need it, and go to bed at a reasonable time (between 10pm and 1am for best results).

How will you tackle this winter? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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