You really can't blame yourself for feeling more down during the winter than during the summer months.

Season Affective Disorder is something maybe you or someone you know suffers from every winter season. You might know it as the 'winter blues' or 'winter depression' and it usually starts to set in right about the time that the snow arrives. Maybe you're feeling a bit less chipper than usual, sleeping longer hours, dealing with heightened anxiety, or just sad for no apparent reason. Cold weather and a lack of sun can leave you feeling exhausted, missing the outdoors, and a little less active.

Being someone who goes through this almost every winter, I wanted to share my ways of conquering these blues and powering through a harsh Canadian winter in the highest of spirits.

Exercise

Every single healthcare professional will tell you that exercise is one of the best ways to battle any health issue, both physical and mental. Hop on the treadmill for thirty minutes and your body will release endorphins or 'happy hormones' that'll energize you for the rest of the day and leave you feeling happy.

Keeping busy

A passive mind will lead to boredom and boredom can lead to negative thoughts. Stay busy! Make a to-do list and follow it religiously. It doesn't have to be chore work, it can simply be a daily routine of work, cooking a meal, playing games with your kids, and then hitting the gym. Staying busy will help you lead a productive life and won't leave anytime for feeling down.

Socializing

Make time to see your friends or family. Socializing is a great way to get your mind off feeling blue or alone and they can be a great support system.

Eating clean

Again, the healthier you eat, the more your body will thank you. Foods that are high in vitamin D and C will help replenish your lack of natural vitamins you get from the sun. Eating foods that are high in fats and sugars can leave you feeling sluggish and unwell.

Spend time outside or take a sunny vacation

Who doesn't want a tropical vacation getaway? When was the last time a trip down south left you feeling sad and blue? NEVER. Treat yourself and book an all-inclusive trip with the family in the new year. If you can't afford a trip anytime soon, go for a walk and get some outdoor exposure (even in the winter). Fresh air and daylight are great for mental well-being.

If all else fails, know that it's okay to talk to your doctor because there is always a solution, and it's best to reach out and get the help that's available for you.

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