The winter blues go by another name: seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While only two to three percent of Canadians will experience severe depression during the winter months, another 15 percent will experience mild SAD. Beyond that, many of us forfeit our favourite activities during the winter months — socializing with friends outdoors, taking nature walks, visiting the beach — leading to boredom and a sense of loss.
So what can we do to combat the winter blues or the boredom that arises when we pack away our summer hobbies?
How to avoid the winter blues
Catch some rays. The sky may be gloomy and grey, but you can find sunshine in other places. Try adding a light box or sunlight lamp to your desk or bedstand. Research shows that exposure to daylight produces chemicals in the brain that act as mood boosters.
Go outside. Physical activity and nature are both mood boosters. Unless there’s a cold weather alert, it’s safe and healthy to spend time outdoors during the winter. Take a snowy hike, strap on some ice skates or take up a winter sport, like skiing.
Plant something. House plants are natural air purifiers and mood enhancers. In the winter months, we tend to spend a lot of time indoors, making clean indoor air even more essential to our health. Staying happy during winter requires staying healthy. For powerful air filtration, try spider plants, aloe or English ivy.
What’s your favourite way to combat the winter blues?