By Michelle Secord

We hope you had memorable gatherings and the opportunity to celebrate with family and friends, near and far. With a few more months to go until spring, winter is the best time to start manifesting and visualizing what you want to do next or what project (s) you want to begin. What ever it is, feel the emotion energize your vision and believe that you can do it, and that you deserve it.

Unfortunately, it is also that time of year where Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects many people at the same time each year, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer. The decreased day light, and warmth of the other seasons, can impact your quality of life by affecting your mood, energy levels, sleep, appetite, memory and your sense of self-worth. It can sometimes make it challenging to help yourself recuperate and feel better, however by making healthy changes and focusing on your self care, you will start to improve your quality of life.

Begin by getting outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to as much natural sunlight as possible. Open your curtains and blinds in your home and workplace. A daylight simulation light therapy lamp is also known to help you feel more awake and alert. Regular exercise and hot Epsom salt baths have beneficial effects on your health as well. Eat small, well-balanced meals to help increase your energy, improve your sleep and boost your self-esteem. Practice daily relaxation techniques to help manage stress and reduce negative emotions by boosting feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, meditation, journaling, or even a spa day.

With all the things we can do to help ourselves feel better, remember that it is also important to make the effort to connect to family and friends, and participate in social activities. Being around other people will help boost your mood and manifest for the future. For instance, there are many things you can do in our very own neighbourhood.

Have lunch or a coffee date in our Blooming Barton Village. Enjoy the hot water pool at Norman “Pinky” Lewis Recreation Centre, or visit the Barton Library. Another way to feel better about yourself is helping others by volunteering. The Gala Herald Community Newspaper, Beautiful Alley’s and Mission Services are always looking for volunteers to join their growing team. Expand your social network, and overcome SAD. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that’s fun and rewarding for you.

Whatever the season, when you are feeling SAD or depressed, your problems may seem overwhelming and permanent. Just know that there are many people who want to support you during good times and through the hard times. If need be, talk to a mental health care professional. In the meantime, work on your self care, stay connected to others, and start manifesting and visualizing your next move, one day at a time. After all, it is a new decade full of new beginnings and revelations to look forward to.