Advice for Mental Health

As a family doctor, Sarah sees more incidence of depression in the winter months. Here are 4 tips for warding off depression. But remember, if you feel blue and can’t shake it, it’s time to seek professional help.

Get some light. Not sure if it’s the vitamin D or the light itself but you need it. Bundle up and get outside (unless it’s -36°C).

Socialize. People who interact with others fare better. And if you interact with people in meaningful relationships, even better. Invite a friend for coffee, watch a game on TV, or play cards.


Exercise helps. Find something you enjoy doing. Walking, dancing, pickleball, badminton, cycling, swimming, skating, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are just a few ideas. Remember – you’ll feel better if you’re active.

Get the sleep you need. Here are some sleep hygiene tips: no caffeine after 3pm (including hidden caffeine in chocolate and pop); avoid computer screens for an hour before you want to fall asleep; sleep in a dark quiet room; if you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something relaxing for 15 minutes (like reading or listening to music) and then try again. Don’t use medications for their sleep-inducing side effect. If you can’t sleep, chances are you’re stressed about something – it’s your body’s signal that it’s become overwhelming and you’ll need to deal with it.

Being happy requires energy and sometimes when you’re depressed, it’s hard to garner up that energy. Recognize when you need help and ask for it. We doctors are a friendly lot and want to help!