January Spotlight: Enjoying January

Enjoying January

The transition from December into January can be tough. Moving from an often fast-paced, busy month full of emotion – whether it be excitement and joy or intense grief or loneliness, or a combination of all of these – into a slow, long, frigid month with little daylight; winter can seem to drag on.

This can be a tough time of year for those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression triggered by the change of seasons that typically begins in the fall and continues through the winter months, then fades away during the spring and summer months, although for some it may occur in the spring or early summer and resolve during the fall or winter. Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include:

  • Feeling sad or down most of the day, nearly every day
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Low energy and feeling sluggish
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, carbohydrate cravings, overeating and weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
  • Having thoughts of no longer wanting to live

Many people experience a more mild version of these symptoms known as the Winter Blues. It is normal to feel down at times during the winter as it gets dark early, it’s cold, and we spend more time indoors. However, if you find that you are feeling down for days at a time, have difficulty getting motivated to do activities you normally enjoy, are experiencing sleep and/or appetite changes, or are experiencing thoughts of suicide, see your healthcare provider.

Despite this, January can also be an exciting month. A new year can bring a fresh start and new beginnings. Rather than making a vague New Year’s resolution, we encourage you to make a S.M.A.R.T. goal (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) about one thing you will try to do to enjoy January. Maybe it’s strapping on those old hockey skates that are buried in your garage and going skating at your local rink every Sunday afternoon. Maybe it’s taking 15 minutes to get outside every morning to take in some sunlight or natural light to boost your mood and energy. Or maybe it’s trying a new winter sport, like snowshoeing or broomball. Manitoba is a wonderland for winter activities so check them out and see what appeals to you. Our initial response may be to curl up inside under a blanket but why not get out, be active, and have some fun with your family and friends? The opportunities are endless, for both indoor and outdoor activities. Challenge yourself to try something new!

Outdoor activity ideas:

  • Skate
  • Toboggan
  • Cross country or downhill skiing
  • Snowshoe
  • Curl
  • Hockey
  • Broomball
  • Ice Fish
  • Snowboard
  • Crokicurl
  • Ice Climb at Whittier Park
  • Take a walk on the Forks’ Rivertrail
  • Visit Oak Hammock Marsh, Fort Whyte Centre, Birds Hill Park Ranch, or other parks for winter beauty and activities
  • Make your way through the snow maze at A Maze In Corn
  • Visit the zoo
  • Visit St. Norbert’s Farmer Market (open bi-weekly Saturdays)

Indoor activity ideas:

  • Take in a hockey game
  • Attend the theatre, ballet, or symphony
  • Visit the art gallery and our many wonderful museums
  • Check out the planetarium
  • Sign up for a class
  • Join a hockey league
  • Mini-golf and check out the Golf Dome’s driving range and golf simulators
  • Go bowling
  • Play at an arcade
  • Do an escape room
  • Visit a rock climbing gym
  • Try a trampoline park
  • Try axe throwing or laser tag
  • Paint at a pottery studio
  • Visit a new restaurant
  • Go to a concert
  • Check out the Snowdance Festival of Winter and Music

If you find yourself struggling this January, reach out to a Wellness Specialist at info@careforallineducation.com, 1-877-602-1660, or on our instant chat on our website. You may also want to check out our Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with Mindfulness course or one of our other free courses. Check out the Events Page to see what’s new!

(includes information from www.mayoclinic.org and my.clevelandclinic.org)