Kick the Winter Blues

January 11, 2024

As the cold winter days grow shorter, Ontarians may find themselves lacking energy and feeling “blue.”

Winter blues is a term that is commonly used to describe a mild form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or a general feeling of low energy and mood during the winter months. Signs you may be experiencing SAD may include lethargy, irritability, changes in sleep patterns, and a general sense of not feeling your best.

In Ontario, research suggests that 15 per cent of the general population have experienced the winter blues, which is different from SAD. SAD 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 a favourite outdoor activity. Spend time outdoors during daylight hours and arrange indoor environments that give you maximum sunlight. For example, you may wish to keep curtains open during the day to allow natural light in your living space. Move furniture to sit near a window.
  • Try something new. Maintain social connections. Spend time with friends and family. Join clubs or groups with activities you enjoy.
  • 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. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit the intake of sugary and processed foods.
  • Reach out for help. To anyone struggling with mental health and addiction at this time, please reach out. Help is always available by calling 211. Call211 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Remember to make your well-being a top priority. It is especially important during the winter months when the lack of sunlight can impact your mood. If you find that your symptoms are significantly affecting your daily life, contact CMHA Toronto for professional advice on ways to manage and improve your mental health.

For more helpful tips about ways to manage SAD or winter blues check out the Centre for Innovation in Campus Mental Health’s The Winter Blues: A guide for students.

More News from CMHA Toronto

Image

In conversation with Murray Segal

Murray Segal, former Deputy Attorney General of Ontario, has served on CMHA Toronto’s board of directors since 2015. Now approaching the end of his term, he spoke with us about
Learn More
Image

Running for mental health with marathoner Kalil Magtoto

Kalil Magtoto recovered from his own mental and physical health challenges by putting “one foot in front of the other” – literally. While training for his first half-marathon, he rekindled
Learn More
Image

On Routes: Reflections from a peer facilitator and a member on the vital role of the Routes community centre

Join Dorothy Leroux, peer facilitator, and Aaron Smith, member, who share their reflections on Routes and why it’s grown to be a vital source of connection, camaraderie, and hope for
Learn More

Contact Us

West Office
700 Lawrence Ave W,
Suite #480 Toronto,
ON M6A 3B4

East Office
1200 Markham Rd,
Suite #500 Scarborough,
ON M1H 3C3

Subscribe to
Living. Working. Belonging.

A monthly newsletter from CMHA Toronto about thriving together and improving mental health care