About 15% of Canadians have mild symptoms of seasonal depression each winter: feelings of sadness, decreased pleasure in life, persistent fatigue, a desire to sleep too much, a significant increase in appetite and a desire to eat foods that are too rich. in fat and sugar.
These symptoms can worsen when there are collective tragedies, however, according to Erin Michalak, professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. She mentions among other things the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to the forest fires and floods that have taken place in the province.
I feel like it’s a year where there is stress on top of stress, on top of other stresses, she comments.
Even without being directly impacted by this year’s natural disasters, it is possible to experience an indirect trauma when one feels they could have happened to us, says Katie Hayes, senior policy analyst at Health Canada who studies the links between climate change and mental health.
With the new restrictions to curb the spread of the Omicron variant reducing gatherings across the country, it may be more difficult to find activities to cheer up, believes Erin Michalak.
So how do you keep your spirits up? Here are a few tips.
Let in the light
Just opening your blinds or curtains every morning to let in natural light could improve your mood during the winter months, according to Natasha Sharma, a former therapist turned wellness entrepreneur, writer and speaker.
Light therapy, which uses a particular lamp to mimic natural sunlight,
has been shown to be really useful for very severe cases of seasonal affective problems, she says.
Go play outside
Sticking your nose outside, even when it’s cold, can warm your spirits very well.
Making sure we eat well, exercise, get outside and breathe fresh air is really important, as it interacts in a very significant way with our mood., she said.
However, you don’t have to become a gym junkie to see an improvement in our morale.
You don’t have to be on a treadmill. Just be active, just move. You can go for a walk, but you can also just walk around your house, she adds.
The taste of doing nothing? Do something anyway
When we lack motivation, just starting a simple task can have an effect on our mood, says Natasha Sharma. It could be doing the dishes or even taking out the trash.