The holiday season is such a happy time for some, filled with traditions, family and friends it can be a highly anticipated and treasured time. For some, however, it is a difficult time. A time of stress, financial strain, and navigating difficult family relationships and expectations. Add to the mix our wonderful dark and rainy West Coast climate and it is little wonder that many experience Holiday Blues or the more serious Seasonal Affective Disorder – a type of depression tied to lack of sunlight this time of year.

If you are prone to feeling down this time of year develop a plan to keep the blues at bay and reach out to family, friends, or a health care professional such as your family doctor or a counsellor if you need extra support.

  • Try to stick to your healthy exercise routine and spend time outside where possible. Research shows that exercise outdoors has better mood benefits than indoor workouts, but moving your body has mood improving benefits either way.
  • Self-care is key; if time to yourself or time with friends is what you need to keep on track then build in that time for yourself and consider it an investment in your wellbeing that will benefit you and your family.
  • Be mindful of alcohol use – it may provide temporary relief from stress however for many it can lower mood over time.
  • Healthy eating can be a challenge over the holidays however being mindful of nutrition while being gracious with yourself about occasional indulgences can break the cycle of post-holiday regrets and unhealthy crash diets.
  • Manage your expectations and focus on what brings meaning and joy to you. Don’t be afraid to start new traditions and explore what works for you and your family.

Be mindful of the difference between regular Holiday Blues and more serious Depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Reach out to your Family Doctor or a Counsellor if you find yourself oversleeping and still not feeling rested, unexplained weight gain or loss, tiredness or low energy, increased irritability, difficulty focusing, lowered libido, feelings of hopelessness, or any thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

For further information on Holiday Blues or Seasonal Affective Disorder contact Janine at 778-237-1451 or