How to keep seasonal affective disorder at bay in Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton

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Published December 29, 2021 at 5:52 pm

The assocation that represents Ontario doctors is offering tips on how Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton can try to ward off Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression that occurs during the fall and winter.

Late December and early January are a time year when many people experience a shift in mood and lack energy, especially after the excitement of Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. The onset of dark, snowy weather can trigger SAD.


The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) says that following small lifestyle adjustments can help people suffering from SAD and anyone feeling the effects of this winter holiday season cope with the symptoms:

  • Accepting that holidays are not always full of joy: Holidays can be both stressful and fulfilling. Try to accept the different emotions instead of setting the unrealistic expectation everything should be positive and good.
  • Breathe: When feeling overwhelmed, take five minutes to breathe and observe what is around you. A five-minute pause can help you gain clarity on what is truly important.
  • Gratitude: Take a moment each day to think of three things or people you are grateful for and allow yourself to feel that experience.
  • Setting boundaries: Sometimes dealing with family situations can be stressful. Set boundaries, including how much time you spend together and what behaviour you will tolerate. If a relative starts discussing something uncomfortable, such as your weight, a simple “my body is not up for discussion,” could be a response that sets a boundary. Boundaries are important to maintain every day.
  • Kindness: Do an act of kindness every day, whether for a relative, a pet, a neighbour or a stranger.
  • Disconnect: Take time to disconnect from screens, phones, news, etc. for about one hour each day to help recharge your mind and engage in other activities, like going for a walk or other physical activity.Stay social: Although your symptoms and COVID-19 protocols may make this difficult, keep in regular contact with family and friends, both in person and virtually.

    These networks can provide opportunities to socialize and refresh your mood. Your loved ones may also be experiencing effects of the season. Staying connected with friends and family, especially those who are elderly, vulnerable or live alone is a great way to show support and understanding and spread good cheer.

    Reach out: Pay attention to how you are feeling and reach out to people in your support network for comfort and understanding. If you need additional support, seek care from a trained professional. If you are feeling suicidal or unsafe, go to your nearest emergency department or crisis center. Your life matters.

  • Make the holidays your own. Life is not always warm and fuzzy. You deserve credit for everything you’ve overcome and any negativity you’ve had to tolerate. Celebrate your accomplishments and make the holidays your own.
  • NARCAN kits: If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, even if rare, have a NARCAN kit handy. NARCAN is a prescription medicine used to treat a known or suspected opioid overdose.

More information and support is available through ontario.cmha.ca.

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