We are halfway through February, *insert joke about time flying here*, and the excitement of the holidays has faded away, taking with it our commitments to 2023 New Year’s resolutions which have –yet again—gone in one year, and out the other. We know that this time of year can feel dreary and dull for many. We have set out below some helpful tips for staying positive during this season , also referred to as “False Spring”
For many of us, the “winter blues”, is in full force and effect. The combination of less daylight, grey skies and chilly temperatures may have you more frequently reaching for that snooze button in the morning, indulging in your favourite comfort foods, and spending more time with Netflix than friends and family (Succession? Say no more).
Truth be told, it has been a dreary winter here in Toronto, more so than usual. The rain and inconsistent temperatures have kept us indoors and when we do venture into the great outdoors, we are readily unsure of which jacket we need that day. Even our plans to hit the slopes and make the most of our winter season have been derailed by a lack of snow and above-average seasonal temperatures. To top it all off, all my fellow pet owners will understand when I say… mud, so much mud.
Some good news however this month comes from Wiarton! Wiarton Willie V has predicted an early spring in lieu of 6 more weeks of winter. Fingers crossed!
If the groundhog’s prediction isn’t enough to spark some hope, here are a few great tips for beating the “winter blues” as we patiently await the spring:
Seek Out Natural Light
We spend countless hours of the day surrounded by artificial lights in our offices and in our homes. Time to skip the PATH and opt for a quick breath of fresh air above ground. The Canadian Mental Health Association recommends opening your curtains, even when it’s cloudy, and let in natural light which will help boost your mood, productivity, and overall wellness.
Limit Blue Light
Our emphasis is on natural light. Do your best to avoid blue light (from your TV screen and cellphone) too close to bedtime or first thing in the morning. Splurge on a sunrise alarm clock that mimics the colors of sunrise to motivate you to wake up easier than your cell-phone alarm, and it might help you avoid scrolling first thing.
You knew it would be on here… but it is well known that frequent exercise can impact and improve your mood. While going to the gym or even outside for a walk may be the last thing you want to do this time of year, it will lead to significant improvements in your mental health and wellness. Better yet, try inviting your friends or family to be active with you!
Stick to Your Routine
The excitement (and disruption) of the holidays and the new year can make it challenging to settle back into our routines. However, going to bed and waking up at the same time, remembering to eat nutritious foods, and making time for the things you enjoy are all important staples in maintaining your mental health. Avoid over-sleeping when tempted as it can worsen the symptoms of the winter blues.
Try Something New
When things are feeling dull and grey, add a splash of something new! A new hobby, recipe, fresh paint color on your walls, activity, or even a different walk to work (above ground maybe?). A colleague of mine recently rearranged all the furniture in her office and said it made her feel like she was coming into a brand new job (or at least gave her the feeling of a fresh start). While change can seem intimidating, there is something exciting and refreshing about trying something new.
Reach out to a loved one or a friend that you might not have talked to recently. Make plans for a sunnier day and try to go out even when it might seem a lot cozier to stay at home.
Be Mindful and Kind to Yourself
Wintertime is hard on so many people. It’s common for us to eat a little bit more, exercise a little bit less, and hibernate in our homes (bears do it, why can’t we?). Take a few moments each day to be self-aware of how you are feeling and be kind to yourself in doing so. You are doing your best, and your best is okay!
I hope this blog at the very least gave you a good chuckle and maybe even a tip or two for tackling the “winter blues” head on and making the most out of the rest of this winter season.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of professional advice.