It is officially winter in Canada; the days are shorter, the nights are longer, and the weather is colder. Finally, the holiday season is over, and it is back to reality this week, back to work and school for most of us.

This change of season can affect everyone differently, and some Canadians experience what is known as the January blues.

Do you have the January blues?

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, some January blues symptoms may include a lack of interest in regular activities, trouble concentrating, feeling slow or fidgety, and sleep and appetite difficulties.  

Keep in mind there is a difference between the January blues and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Two weeks or more of a depressed mood could indicate SAD. Remember to talk to your doctor if you experience mood changes, sleep disturbances, and lack of motivation. 

Tips to Help You Beat the January Blues

Thankfully there are some ways to help you beat the January Blues. I am sharing some below:

  • Take Vitamin D supplements: Since you have less exposure to sunlight during the dark winter months, you may need vitamin D supplements. Vitamine D deficiencies may be linked to sleep disturbances and mood changes. Speak with your doctor to see the recommended dosage for you.
  • Spend time outside during the day and stay active: Expose yourself to natural light and fresh air, go for a walk/hike or sit by a window. Spending time outdoors and staying active, even a brisk walk in the sunlight can help make you feel energized, help increase your serotonin and endorphins levels and lower your blood pressure. 
  • Get proper sleep and keep a regular bed schedule: Getting enough sleep is essential to help you regulate your mood. In addition, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule will help make you feel less irritable or anxious during the day. 
  • Eat a healthy diet: Look at your diet and what you put in your body. Avoid processed foods and choose more nutritious whole grain and vegetable options. High intake of sugar and carbs can cause mood sugar crashes that will impact your mood negatively. Instead, stay hydrated and switch soda drinks to water.  
  • Pick up a new hobby: Get a new book to read, sign up for a new class, or volunteer somewhere new. Staying busy and finding new ways to connect with others will help your mood and build your confidence and positive feelings. 
  • Practice self-care: Take some time to get a massage, take a relaxing bath at the end of the day, or relax by the fireplace fire. Taking the time to relax and enjoy self-care time is essential to stay healthy and energized. 
  • Practice Yoga/Meditation: Sign up for a new in-person yoga or meditation class or free online meditation class. Meditation will help reduce negative emotions and increase relaxation and feelings of well-being. 
  • Spend time with family and friends: Talk to your family and friends about how you feel and try to spend quality time with them. Talk to your doctor, and ask for help. Know that you are not alone, and many people feel the effect of the January blues.
  • Light therapy: Light therapy lamps can help regulate mood and focus. It is recommended to use light therapy lamps in the morning or when tired, 15-30 minutes for best results. There are many options online, so do your research to find what would work best for you.

Below are some helpful Resources in English:

Mood Disorders Association of BC
Visit or call 604-873-0103 (in the Lower Mainland) or 1-855-282-7979 (in the rest of BC) for resources and information on mood disorders. 

Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division
Visit or call 1-800-555-8222 (toll-free in BC) or 604-688-3234 (in Greater Vancouver) for information and community resources on mental health or any mental illness.

BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information
Visit for info sheets and personal stories about SAD. You’ll also find more information, tips and self-tests to help you understand many mental health problems.

Resources available in other languages:
More than 100 languages are available.

HealthLink BC
Call 811 or visit to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.

Any other ideas to help beat the January/winter blues? Please share them below.