sun setting over snow

5 ways to beat the winter blues

January’s been a looong month.

The holidays have come and gone, and significant snowfall has just begun around the province.

It’s no surprise that January’s also seen as a “blue” month, with short days, little sunshine, and very cold weather making it difficult to prioritize time outside.

Feeling a bit… off? Fear not!

We’ve collected a few tips to try to help you beat the blues and make your winter feel a bit brighter:

1. Bundle up and brave the elements!

two showshoers on trail through snowy forest

Okay, this one might be a little obvious and perhaps not so popular with some summer lovers. (But, really, you’re reading a parks blog. You knew what you were getting into.)

Undoubtedly the best way to beat the winter blues is to view winter as something to be enjoyed, rather than endured. Embracing the cold and getting outdoors in a sure way to help beat those winter blues!

There’s plenty of cool activities available at parks this winter.

Try something cardio-intensive like fat biking and cross-country skiing, or something more static like relaxing by the campfire and birding.

Getting that precious fresh air and Vitamin D really does wonders!

Just remember to dress in warm layers.

2. Cozy up with an adventure book

person with crossed legs reading book

So maybe we haven’t sold you on embracing the elements this winter.

In our view, the next best thing is to live vicariously through adventurers-past by cozying up with a good book!

New studies are beginning to understand the value of “virtual nature” connection opportunities, which essentially means that there are health benefits to be gained even from things that make you think about or visualize the natural world.

So if you can’t spend as much time outside as you’d like, the next best thing to help might be visiting your local library and picking up a good adventure book.

3. Journal it out

person writing in journal

Sometimes mood is hard to moderate, but one way to focus on the positive things in your life is to spend time writing down a list of all the things you’re looking forward to this winter.

It might be as simple as trying a new soup recipe or something bigger like planning a vacation.

Include everything that makes you happy on your list. Don’t skimp the day-to-day moments that are easy to forget but can have a big impact on your mood.

Remember that nice journal you got over the holidays? It’s time to pull it out of your desk drawer and put it to good use! (Didn’t unwrap a journal this holiday season? We’ve got you covered!)

4. Meet up with good pals

two people taking selfie

Social connection with friends is a sure-fire way to get you out of your seasonal funk. Link up for a coffee, dinner, or even a trip to the grocery store. You’d be surprised how much your mood lifts!

For even more mental health benefits, meet your friend for regular outdoor activities (also known as a nature appointment)!

Schedule a weekly walk around your neighborhood or local park to get some fresh air and feel the healing effects.

5. Practice mindfulness

sun setting over frozen lake

If you’re like us in the winter, your brain feels like it’s either going a mile a minute or straight up sluggish, with no in-between.

Mindfulness can really help your busy brain get a moment of rest, and gives your nervous system an opportunity to hit pause.

Give it a try. You can practice mindfulness on your next winter adventure outdoors or just by looking out your window!

Hang in there — spring’s only eight weeks away!