Published on Mon, 01/12/2015 by Nature Conservancy of Canada - English

Beat the New Year blues by taking time for nature

Beat the New Year blues by taking time for nature       

Across Canada, millions are heading back to work, or school, after a busy holiday. January also signals the peak season for the “post-holiday blues” — feeling down as we return to the daily grind after a long vacation. The end of the holidays isn’t the only thing bogging people down.  According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians experience a seasonal shift in mood and energy known as “winter blues” and about two percent are affected by a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

The good news is that there are natural ways to ward off a yearly recurrence of the blues.

Here are some of our tips to help you regain your sprightly spirit:

Take a hike

Winter is the perfect time to see nature on foot, snowshoe, skate or ski. Walking in nature reserves and parks is a great way to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors while switching up the sedentary winter lifestyle. The Nature Conservancy of Canada’s properties feature diverse terrain types, from pristine forests like Backus Woods in Ontario, to long sandy beaches like Gaff Point in Nova Scotia, all of which are great picks for your next nature trip.

Or, blaze a trail with trivia: Make it a social and educational outing by preparing some trivia about the area’s points of interest and species you might encounter.

Build a snow animal

If Elsa agreed to build a snowman with her sister, maybe she wouldn’t have felt closed in and blue. Are you feeling snowed in as well? Instead of complaining about the snow that’s got you stuck indoors, turn glum to fun by putting on some gloves and heading to your nearest patch of snow. Let your imagination work its magic and build your favourite snow animal. No matter what the outcome, it will be a masterpiece well worth your time.

Watch the birds

Spotting winter birds can bring tremendous joy and satisfaction, especially when they can be few and far between. Currently, the invasion of snowy owls is all the rave in eastern Canada. But besides the snowies, there are many other species to spot throughout winter, such as water birds like goldeneyes and mergansers, in addition to resident Canada geese and mallards along lakeshore or open water. You may even see birds of prey such as red-tailed hawks and falcons on light poles during daily commutes. Species like rock pigeons and gulls have adapted to survive in urban settings, so don’t be surprised to meet one of these species downtown!

Create an indoor nature day

There are days when the weather is frightful and going outside is not a good idea. But you can still have a healthy distraction from the blue mood by reading up on Canada’s species, their characteristics and conservation statuses. By learning more about them, you will be able to appreciate the wonders of nature and Canada’s diverse, natural heritage for your next visit to the great outdoors.

Visit for information about visiting a nature reserve near you and for ideas to spend time in nature.

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