Five Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

Winter brings a host of challenges, such as cold hands and feet, slippery roads, dreary weather, and extra bundling. Because of this, winter is also a time when many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as ‘the Winter Blues’. As you watch the world outside turn into a glittering winter wonderland this season, here are five simple steps you can take to welcome winter, Muslim style, and banish the winter blues while you’re at it!

1. Volunteer and donate to help the less fortunate.
As temperatures plummet all over the country, individuals living below the poverty line will find it particularly tough. An estimated 1% or 200,000 people in Canada experience homelessness. An additional 9% of Canadians live below the poverty line.

This winter, take the opportunity to donate used clothes to a charity. If you need to make space in your wardrobe, why not donate the jackets and sweaters you haven’t worn for years to a local coat drive? You can also volunteer or donate non-perishable items to a local food bank.

It can be easy to overlook those who are less fortunate while you enjoy the winter break with friends and family – but helping those less fortunate can be a fantastic way for you to feel good about yourself and chase away the winter blues.

2. Stay healthy, stay positive!

Paying special attention to your food intake may help combat this seasonal slump. Healthy eating has a positive influence on your mood and attitude while reducing stress, anxiety, and the symptoms of depression.

When those sugar and carb cravings strike, reach instead for a piece of fruit or foods that are high in protein and good fats. This will curb your craving, and also provide your brain the nourishment to keep your body healthy, stable, and happy. For starters, try these recipes for roasted veggie and chicken sandwich and the chicken salad nicoise.

3. Exercise, exercise, exercise!

Another way to stay healthy and positive this season is to develop an exercise routine.  Studies show that exercise helps to boost endorphins, feel good hormones, and you don’t need to take part in heavy weights or intensive training to reap the benefits. Even a brisk 20-minute walk or dancing to your favourite beat can help to boost your mood.

4. Mindfulness

Amidst the breakneck pace of life, it’s important to slow down every once in a while, and count your blessings. This can include keeping a gratitude journal, practicing yoga, meditation, or prayer. Regardless of the method, self-care is an important action to incorporate into your daily routine.

A gratitude journal is a great exercise in staying positive. The premise of the journal is straightforward. You just need to record five things in the past week for which you’re grateful. The entries can be brief—just a single sentence—and they range from the ordinary (“waking up this morning”) to the sublime (“the generosity of friends”).

5. Spend quality time with your family.

Snow days are an optimal time to spend quality time indoors with family. Plan and do such activities that will bond the family and bring them closer together. Board games such as Scrabble or Boggle, are a great way for family members to learn and have fun.

Planning a family book club or reading books together while curling under a cozy blanket is also a great way to spend the day. Keep an eye out for our snow day reading list, which will be shared soon!