When the days are shorter, the nights longer, the weather is considerably colder, and we are still under significant restrictions due to the pandemic, it’s not surprising that many Canadians are experiencing the winter blues.
This year in particular, when routines have been disrupted and social contact reduced, winter may seem even longer and less enjoyable than usual. However, there are a few things we can do to beat the winter blues and make this season a little more pleasant.
Here are a few tips to beat the winter blues:
Get or stay connected to others. Have regular virtual calls, use social media to keep in touch, or phone friends or family to chat. You will likely feel better for having made an effort.
Focus on good news. Be careful about the type of news you are reading and watching. Avoid negative news about the situation, especially opinions from those with no medical expertise.
Finding a way to embrace something about the season makes it more manageable. Perhaps it’s having tea by a fire or getting outside for a walk in the snow. The key is focusing on things you enjoy to make the most of the winter months. It’s important to shift out of the mindset that everything to do with winter is negative.
Help others and be extra kind to each other. Helping other people, whether it’s getting firewood or groceries for an elder or spare some time over the phone or on a virtual call with someone who is feeling lonely right now, will boost your mood – and theirs! Research shows that when we help others, we can also help ourselves. Now, more than ever is time to be kind to each other.
Get clear on what you do or do not have control over. Once you identify those changes, you can control, mentally relax about the things you cannot. Continue working on setting tiny goals because reaching them during these times should be considered a huge accomplishment. If you are looking for resources to help you peel away the layers of anxiety and build a healthy routine, Alberta Health created a great Toolkit to care for your mental health through this pandemic. You can download the kit here.
Maximize exposure to sunlight. Spend more time outdoors during the day and arrange indoor environments to receive maximum sunlight. Trim tree branches that block light, for example, and keep curtains open during the day. Move furniture to sit near a window. And don’t forget your sunscreen even when staying inside.
Engage in physical activities. Exercise relieves stress, builds energy and increases mental and physical wellbeing. Check-in with our Athletic Therapist to create a plan and get your body moving.
Eat well. Healthy and mindful eating has been shown to benefit mental as well as physical health. Always incorporate colourful fruits and vegetables into your daily meals. Friendly reminder: Our Registered Dietitian is here to help you.
Sleep well. When people don’t get enough sleep, their health risks increase. Symptoms of depression, seizures, high blood pressure and migraines worsen. Immunity is compromised, increasing the likelihood of illness and infection. Follow a regular sleep schedule and develop a bedtime routine. If you’re facing problems falling or staying asleep, come see us!
Are you experiencing any of these symptoms?
- Change in appetite
- Inability to concentrate
- Decreased interest in social or work activities
- Feelings of sadness or despair
- Lack of motivation
- Sleeping too much
- Feeling hopeless about the future
If your answer is yes, please call us to check in with your doctor: 403.229.0129. The Preventous team is here for you. Our approach to medicine has always been focused on preventative strategies that reduce the appearance of disease and enhance the individual overall wellbeing.
Our 24/7 on-call service is also available. You can reach our after-hours on-call service at 403.212.0545
I hope that each of you will make an effort to reach out to our team at Preventous and explore all resources that are at your complete disposal.
Dr. Rohan Bissoondath,