According to the universe, the third Monday in January, and particularly in colder regions like ours, has taken the title as the most depressing day of the year. Some say that feeling holds because of the colder, grey days combined with post-holiday bills coming in along with less social gatherings. This year, some of us may feel it even more so with continued pandemic protocols in place in many places. Even for those who head to sunnier climates feel like it’s just not the same with all sorts of travel worries and mask reminders. It’s clear that those who feel less “winter blues” try to make the most of it. Bundling up, keeping busy and getting fresh air — all helpful.

We pulled together some ways that help our team get through this time of year that doesn’t always necessarily mean extra spending. We hope you’ll find something that can help…

REFRESH: the ritual of taking down the holiday decor and then decluttering is something we don’t necessarily feel like doing but it actually feels good once you do it. Take one room, or one area, at a time so it’s not so overwhelming. We all have things that we love that we love to display. Switch them around now. Put out things you LOVE and put away things you LIKE for another day and TOSS away things that have done their duty…with gratitude of course, as Marie Kondo would tell us.

Photo by Maarten Deckers/ Unsplash

PLANT LIFE: fresh flowers around the home helps lift moods but so do houseplants – plus they’ll last longer. Consider adding new plants around windows and common areas in the home, don’t forget about the home office. Not sure what do get? Check with your local florist to find out what suits your lifestyle and pay attention to what requires direct or indirect sunlight. “This time of year, what’s popular to gift yourself or anyone else is the Money Tree, as it’s close to the Lunar New Year and is thought to bring positive energy and good luck,” says Sonya. It requires medium/indirect light and doesn’t require much water in the winter months. It’s also safe to be around pets.

Photo by Scott Webb/Unsplash

SCENTS: Surround yourself with subtle scents -what’s your mood? lavender is calming, mint is rejuvenating, eucalyptus is great for clarity and focus, vanilla is warm and cozy, and anything citrus is a mood lifter. Candles, bubble bath, lotions, room scent diffusers are great to have handy. Sonya suggests Saje Wellness’s Liquid Sunshine (Lime, Bergamot, Grapefruit) essential oil blend to bring a burst of happiness into your daily life.
GET CREATIVE: Now is a great time to explore your creative side. Try something new or return to a favourite hobby – photography, painting, writing, poetry, origami, clay making, knitting, learning how to play an instrument? Do something for you. Not for anyone else. Take that course or workshop you’ve always wanted to do —  a virtual improv class with The Comedy Coop, anyone?

Sincerely Media for Unsplash

READ ON!: Get to that pile of books next to your bedside table or discover something new. Nathalie gives us her latest list worthy of your time for these most uncomfortable times. Link to her list here.

LISTEN TO MUSIC: Okay, we have The Weeknd’s latest DawnFM on repeat. It’s got a new fresh vibe, almost healing in feel. It all feels so familiar yet modern day. We just don’t need anymore stress in our lives right now, right? While the groove is smooth  you may also find yourself wanting to switch gears– something that will get you up and moving. Whatever that is. Maybe it’s the soundtrack to Sing 2? Jump on Spotify and create your own playlists of your favourite songs.

Also, mark your calendars! On January 24, CONCERT OF HOPE features Grammy and Juno award-winning musicians and people who’ve been touched by mental illness and still creating amazing art. The concert will be streamed on the High Notes Avante Facebook page and the Richmond Hill Performing Arts Centre page. Admission is free but donations to Canada Helps are greatly appreciated.

LISTEN TO A PODCAST OR AUDIOBOOK: Give your eyes a break and take in your latest read by just listening. If you’re into podcasts, then check out Smartless with Will Arnett, Sean Hayes, and Justin Bateman. Each episode brings on a celebrity or other notable human being for a fascinating and/or hilarious interview. Guaranteed to make you smile or LOL while you’re out and about.

GET CONNECT WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY: spend actual time with a friend or family member on a Zoom or gasp…an actual phone call. Or if you’re comfortable, physically go out for a walk and turn your phones on silent mode.

KEEP MOVING: We get that it’s not that appealing to bundle up and head out on a -20C day but be sure to carve out time in the day to stretch and move. Hula-hoop if you want! Dance! Just keep moving! Sticking to a routine and relying on a community to inspire accountability like Orangetheory Fitness can spark the challenge you need to show up.

orangetheory live

GET OUTSIDE: Bundle up and explore wherever you live. Revisit areas that you haven’t been to in a while. Beaches aren’t just for summer! Plan out a walking route to check out various outdoor public art installations that are free! Sonya tells us there are over 400 artworks from sculptures to murals in Toronto to check out (map here). Also, hit up some of the city’s greatest public parks like High Park, Evergreen Brickworks, Downsview Park, Sherwood Park, Lower Don River, Rouge Valley, and Scarborough Bluffs.

GET COOKING: Tap into your culinary side! Libby suggests getting your creative juices flowing with a new cookbook, recipe or Tik Tok trend. You can always invite your friends and family to join in the fun. Share your recipes or even create a family cookbook together and have I professionally printed and bound by companies like Shutterfly.