As the cold and snow of winter sinks in, Ontarians may find themselves lacking energy as the days grow shorter.
Research in Ontario suggests that 15 per cent of the general population have experienced the winter blues, which can include changes in appetite and lethargy. The winter blues differs from Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which affects about two per cent of the population and is a serious form of depression.
Here are a few tips to help kick the winter blues:
- Enjoy time spent doing your favourite outdoor activity. 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.
- Try something new. While we’re being advised to continue to participate in physical distancing, it’s important to stay mentally healthy while maintaining a physical distance. Starting a new blog, watching a new television show or listening to a new podcast are just a few of the many ways to stay mentally healthy while physically distancing.
- Take a walk at one of the city’s trails. Exercise relieves stress, builds energy and increases mental and physical well-being. Make a habit of taking a daily noon-hour walk. The activity and increased exposure to natural light can raise spirits.
- Make a colourful meal. Healthy eating has been shown to benefit mental as well as physical health. Be sure to incorporate fruits and vegetables in daily eating habits.
- Reach out for help. To anyone struggling with mental health and addiction at this time, please reach out. Help is always available and CMHA is here with our programs and services.
CMHA Elgin Middlesex offers a variety of programming to assist you on your mental wellness journey. If you are looking for virtual groups and/or workshops to help you beat the winter blues and connect with others, we have some excellent offerings through our Winter Program Guide 2020/2021. Additionally, you can connect with our Information and Brief Support team who can assist you in connecting with a number of our programs.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health and/or addictions crisis, please call Reach Out 24/7 at 519-433-2023 or connect through the web chat at www.reachout247.ca. Alternatively, you can visit our 24/7 walk-in Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Centre located at 648 Huron Street, London, ON.
The prevalence of the winter blues highlights the need to make our mental health a priority throughout the year. CMHA Ontario branches have programs and services available to ensure Ontarians get the support they need. Programs like Living Life to the Full are now offering their courses online. Living Life to the Full is a fun and engaging eight-week course that provides people from all walks of life with effective tools to maximize their ability to manage life’s challenges. New courses are starting this month. Visit the CMHA Ontario website today for details: bit.ly/2U0frdO