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Beating the Winter Blues


Life + Learning

  • Image of coffe cup with blanket in front of a window which looks out on snow

Christine, Old Post Office | November 1, 2019

Winter. It's inevitable, and whether you like it or not, it's coming. A snow storm is an opportunity to curl up under a cozy blanket, and an ice storm can turn the landscape into a crystal wonderland. For some, winter is the long-awaited opportunity to lace up the skates and enjoy outdoor sports, while for others it's just plain cold and far too long.

The sun plays an important role in our mental heath and well-being, and for some the longer nights and decrease in daylight hours can bring about feelings of lethargy, moodiness, inability to concentrate, over sleeping, or not being able to fall sleep or stay asleep. These are just some of the symptoms that can be attributed to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression. There are natural ways to help boost our moods and create a happier outlook when we are feeling low or depressed.

Adopt healthy habits and stay active! This means eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and setting time aside to have fun. Adopting these key elements aid in improving our feel-good chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins. This in turn boosts our self-esteem and helps to improve sleep.

Exposure to artificial light can also be helpful in combating the symptoms of SAD.  Light Therapy Lamps have been found to be very helpful and are available at all Idea Exchange locations except the Old Post Office and Design at Riverside. The Riverview Room at the Old Post Office has floor to ceiling glass walls where natural light is readily available. Consider visiting this location where you can sit by the river, bring a book, borrow a pair of binoculars to view wildlife, play a game, read a magazine or newspaper, or borrow a laptop and surf the internet.

Creativity can also help boost your mood. Get your creative juices flowing in the Old Post Office Makerspace, make some music in the Creative Studios, or sign up for one of our programs to learn something new.

There are also many books and videos related to stress, stress management, depression, and mood disorders free to borrow through the library.  As the holiday season approaches, be sure to check out Healthy Eating During the Holiday Season and Anything but Merry on our website to get your holidays off to a healthy, happy start. 

To learn more about coping with stress and how to minimize its impact, create a self-care activity or awareness work sheet and discover the positive things about yourself.  Consider joining us too on November 26th where Laura McShane from the Canadian Mental Health Association will be speaking about low mood and SAD.