top view of winter boots in snow

Here we are, in our coldest months of the year, especially in some parts of Canada (like Saskatoon) where the winters can be quite harsh. I love it here but that doesn’t stop me from complaining about the weather every single year! That natural response is just in my DNA. And there is likely a very good reason for that – it’s called “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD).

The truth of the matter is, I NEED daylight and I NEED sunshine. There is scientific proof that the shorter days during the winter can, and do, affect our bodies. Now, I can’t really do anything to change this natural phenomenon, short of moving to a tropical island – but since that’s not possible, there are some things you can and should do to chase the winter blues away at this time of year.

There is strong support that light therapy and dawn simulation are effective treatments. Even simpler tricks can include opening up all of the blinds or drapes to let as much natural light into your home as possible. If you’re going to sit and read a book, try to sit near a window.

And don’t forget to keep active or do some exercise (preferably outdoors in the daylight). Being physically active is a guaranteed way to improve your mood and chase away winter depression. Not to mention, it’s a great way to help shed some of the additional weight we might have gained through the Holiday Season!

And here’s an antidote sure to please the majority. Experts tell us to eat chocolate! Personally, I can’t even remember what the scientific reason is, and maybe I don’t even care. I just heard “eat chocolate” and that was good enough for me. By the way, they did say you should also be sure to get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well. And don’t forget Vitamin D!

And for all of our volunteers out there – keep doing what you’re doing. There is actually a biological explanation for why the act of helping others can actually help yourself. Acts of generosity and helping others releases dopamine in the body which can result in decreased anxiety and increased self worth.

Don’t let the winter blues get you down. Fight back.

Lynn Danbrook

Lynn Danbrook

Lynn Danbrook is the Threads of Life Regional Development Coordinator for Western Canada. Lynn is a University of Saskatchewan alumna with extensive experience as a development professional and she has enjoyed many opportunities to work with volunteers over the years.
Lynn Danbrook

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