• Vaughan Relationship Centre: Counselling to Empower.

Let’s talk about mental health this month. January is a hard month as it is, especially since Christmas is over and the bills of said holiday are trickling in. It is also hard because the days are
short and cold. So, what can one do to combat these winter blues?

Get outside

Even though it is cold and snowy, getting outside in the fresh, crisp air helps to boost one’s mood and mental health. It helps to get the heart pumping, thus increasing the endorphins that raise your mood. This is all positive. So, going out for a family walk, going sledding down the local hill with your kids, or even doing a winter sport such as ski-dooing, skating or skiing will help boost your energy, mood, and mental health.

Take a time-out

Take some time for yourself and do some self-care. It doesn’t have to be big and extravagant, but doing something for yourself, by yourself, is not a bad thing to help you reconnect with yourself and your surroundings. For example, getting a haircut with a scalp massage, taking an exercise class, or simply sitting down with a cup of tea and a good book helps to rest and relax the mind and body. Choose something you love to do and do it, or perhaps just splurge and do something nice for yourself but make it a monthly or yearly thing, like getting a massage. Whatever you choose to do, do it with passion for your mind and body.

Connect with Others

Connection is important as well. We need to connect with others to feel. We are wired to be connected
with people, not to be alone. We need people in our lives to feel a sense of self and community. So, get out and connect with people; really connect with
people not just through your phone but actually get out and go for dinner or coffee or perhaps have
someone over for the local live game. Whatever it is, just connect. Talk through things that may be
bothering you or talk about future travel plans. Talk about your past or talk about your day. The point is
to connect with others on a similar level in order to feel bonded, loved and respected. However, if
reaching out to a friend or family member is not an option, try seeking out local groups or
perhaps seeking the professional help of a therapist. There are always ways to connect; sometimes, we
just have to think outside the box to do so.

The winter may be cold and frigid, which can bring one down, but there are always things that can be
done to brighten one’s mood and lively the spirit. Having winter blues doesn’t have to get you down; get
out, find a friend, join a community league, get a blue wave light, or do a paint night. Focus on the positive out there in order to not let the winter blues get you down.

If you are struggling with your mood this winter, reach out to us at the Vaughan Relationship Centre