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Overcome the winter blues

The festive, cheery days of the holiday season are behind us and Calgarians are beginning to cope with the winter blues. In fact, the third Monday of January, often referred to as Blue Monday, is believed to be the most depressing day of the year. Cold weather, bills and failed New Year’s resolutions are all factors that lead people to feel particularly depressed in January, and for much of the winter. And with the economic downtown, this year may be harder than ever for thousands.

While Blue Monday is not scientifically-proven, winter is a challenging time of year for Calgarians. Here are five tips to manage the winter blues:

  1. Seek social support: don’t underestimate the power of friends, family, mentors, co-workers, and neighbors. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or encouragement when you need it. Something as simple as a phone call, a chat over coffee, or an email can brighten your mood.
  2. Rejuvenate yourself: make a conscious effort to eat well and exercise during this period. This will help get both your body and mind back on track and keep you from falling back into negative thoughts or feelings.
  3. Get some sun: not only will the extra sunlight boost your Vitamin D levels, but it can also improve your mood. Winter is full of shorter and darker days and because of the cold weather most of us flock to indoor activities. Try keeping the blinds open and sit near windows where you can – and of course head outside during chinooks!
  4. Expect good things: give yourself something to look forward to so that you feel better about leaving the holidays behind. Plan a weekend getaway, try a new sport, or meet a friend for lunch.
  5. Check-in with yourself: it’s important to take a moment and check in with yourself to gauge whether the feelings you’re experiencing are temporary, or something more than that. Calgary Counselling Centre’s online depression screening test is open for Blue Monday on January 18. The short, anonymous questionnaire will help you check-in with your emotional well-being. You can find it at test4depression.com.

Don’t forget. Calgary Counselling Centre is always here to help. With no waitlist, a sliding fee scale based on income, and barrier free access to counselling for all Calgarians.

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