Winter in Canada can be tough, with temperatures dropping below zero and the sun setting early. This can greatly affect moods and overall well-being, with some people experiencing what is known as the “winter blues”. According to a study in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, about 15% of people in Canada experience winter blues, which can include feeling the need to sleep more and spending more time alone than with friends and family.
Furthermore, about 2-3% of people in Canada experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression that arises during the winter months. This can be particularly challenging for newcomers to Canada, who are already grappling with adjusting to a new environment and facing the isolating effects of the winter season.
To combat the winter blues, it is important to recognize the value of vitamin D and sunlight exposure. The Mental Health Commission of Canada recommends taking vitamin D supplements and using light therapy lamps to mimic natural sunlight, which can help regulate circadian rhythms. Engaging in outdoor activities like skiing, snowshoeing, or simply taking a leisurely stroll in natural light can have a positive impact on well-being.
Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, discovering new hobbies, and planning short vacations can also help combat the winter blues. Furthermore, surrounding yourself with loved ones during the holiday season can provide vital support to combat feelings of anxiety, depression, and isolation. Seeking professional help from a mental health professional is also recommended if the winter blues persist and impact daily life.
For newcomers to Canada, there are numerous support systems and resources available to help during the winter months. From warm lines for casual support to youth peer-to-peer online communities and counseling services provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association, there are tailored resources to ensure individuals are not alone in coping with seasonal difficulties.
Institutions also offer Winter Wellness events, crisis support, and counseling for international students, alongside a range of community and cultural groups to help provide a sense of familiarity and community bonding. These resources are essential to ensuring that newcomers feel supported and connected during the challenging winter months in Canada.
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