Fall and winter months bring darker days and lots of rain.

Without winter activities to keep you moving outside or connected to friends and family, it can be easy to stay at home. Keeping indoors can make us feel tired and lower our mood and self-esteem and these feelings can spiral. Here are things you can do to help stay active and well this season.

Keep moving

  • Start small. Step outside, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • If you don’t want to go far, hang out in your building or complex’s communal area.
  • If the weather stops you from going outside, exercise at home if you can – try a free online yoga or fitness class.
  • Try a fitness class at your community centre – they often offer low-cost classes and swim passes.
  • The Running Room organizes free running groups for all levels.
  • If you work during daylight hours, go for a short walk at lunch time.
  • If you work evening shifts, get up a little earlier to enjoy some outdoor daylight, even if it’s raining.
  • Ask your neighbour if you can take their dog for a walk.

Stay connected

Limited contact with friends and/or family can make us lonely, which can lead to feelings of sadness, tiredness and lack of motivation.

  • Keep in touch with friends, family and neighbours – call someone or plan for a video call.
  • Invite someone over for crafts, games, food or to make cookies or dinner.
  • Join an outdoor or mall walking group.
  • Start a winter book club - talk to your local library for suggestions and help.
  • Reconnect with faith based/spiritual events.
  • Volunteer with local conversational groups and connect with someone who is feeling isolated. Check out this posting for social prescribing volunteer.
  • Check in with a neighbour.
  • Contact your local SPCA or city animal shelter for a visit or volunteer opportunities.

Deal with debt

There are many reasons we spend more money during the winter months. Debt can be a major stressor, and can lead to increased worry, loss of sleep and changes to appetite.

Naming and dealing with the problem can help.

The Credit Counselling Society is a registered charity and not for profit organization that can provide resources from managing money to using credit responsibly to assistance with debt solutions.

The Credit Counselling Society also offers and online service called myMoneyCoach where you will find money management resources and webinars.

Seek help for substance use if you have concerns

People sometimes increase their substance use during the winter or during the holidays.

If you are concerned about your substance use, visit a community substance use services clinic for counselling or one of our Rapid Access to Addiction Care clinics for a medical assessment.

If you do use substances, follow these steps to prevent an overdose:

  • Don’t use alone
  • Make a plan with people you are using with in case someone overdoses
  • Start slow, go slow, especially after taking a break from use
  • Don’t mix different drugs or drugs and alcohol
  • Get your drugs checked
  • Learn more about naloxone and carry a kit
  • If you use alone, use the Lifeguard app

Learn more about overdose prevention

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