The holidays are over… now what?

So here we are in a New Year. The hustle and bustle of the holidays are behind us – the decorating, shopping, gift-giving and entertaining are all done.  We hear all around us that it is time for new beginnings. Gym memberships beckon and headlines encourage us to eat well and spend less. I should feel energized, optimistic, and excited, right?  So why do I feel, well, flat?

Sad woman looking out window

I may have the post-holiday or winter blues , that period of feeling underwhelmed once the celebrations stop and the bills come due. I can feel sad, hopeless, and stuck at home during the short days of January and February.

It’s hard to resist the urge to turn off the alarm, snuggle back under the covers, and ignore the long to-do list, the work emails, the crying baby and that growing pile of laundry. Whatever challenges you face, here are 5 tips to get you through winter:

  • Choose fun and simple ways to fit activity into your day. Walking is easy, doesn’t cost much, and you can wear your baby or take your kids with you. It’s a fact: exercise can boost your mental health.
  • Don’t be in too big a hurry to take down all the decorative lights and put away the candles. There’s a reason many cultures celebrate with lights during the shorter winter days. Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa all encourage us to celebrate by brightening up our environments. Keep some lights up until Valentine’s Day!   Mother and daughter enjoying healthy meal with white lights in background.
  • Save time, money, and energy by planning ahead for healthy meals. Don’t beat yourself up about what you ate over the holidays, but start stocking some healthy snacks like hummus and fresh cut vegetables. Experiment with seasonal produce.
  • Continue some of the activities that you enjoyed over the holidays. Have neighbours and their kids over for a games night. Decorate your windows with paper snowflakes. Treat yourself to healthy pancakes on a snowy weekend.
  • Seek support. Connect with friends for coffee. Visit your local EarlyOn Child & Family Centre. If you are a new parent or have a child under the age of two years old, check out an Adjusting to Parenthood (A2P) group. There is a difference between the winter blues and SAD (seasonal affective disorder). See your doctor if you suspect that you or your child may be suffering from SAD.

And remind yourself:  the days are already getting longer.  Spring is coming. The holidays may be over, but you can do this!

How do you boost your mood in the winter months? Share your tips with us:

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000

About this guest blogger:

Janet Siverns:

Picture of Janet Siverns

I have worked as a Public Health Nurse with Halton Region for many years. On any given week you will find me at one of our Prenatal Nutrition (HPNP) or Adjusting to Parenthood (A2P) groups. I enjoy having supportive conversations about mental health. As a survivor of perinatal mood disorders (PMD), I have a passion for helping new parents navigate the sometimes challenging transition to parenthood. When not at work, I enjoy the company of my grandchildren  and going for walks with my goldendoodle Finnegan.

Posted in Babies, Depression & Anxiety After Birth, Depression & Anxiety During Pregnancy, Parenting, Parenting Your Baby, Parenting Your Teen, Teens | Leave a comment

How grandma can be an awesome breastfeeding support

I remember how exciting it was for my husband and me when we had our first newborn! However, I also recall feeling overwhelmed by the exhaustion, breastfeeding challenges, caring for the baby and household chores! Breastfeeding and bonding with my baby were so important to me – but how could I do it all??

ENTER: my mom!

Happy Asian family at home

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Posted in Babies, Before Pregnancy, Breastfeeding Your Baby, Parenting, Parenting Your Baby, Preparing to Breastfeed | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

All you need to know about vaping

Vaping is gaining popularity with youth. My teens claim everyone’s doing it and the statistics are showing a rise in use. In 2017, more Ontario students in grades 7-12 had used e-cigarettes compared to tobacco cigarettes. About one-in-ten students (around 80,800 in Ontario), report using more than just a few puffs of vape, with or without nicotine, in the past year.

Two women vaping outdoor. The evening sunset over the city. Toned image

Vapes also known as e-cigarettes , vape pens, mods and tank systems are battery operated devices that change a liquid into an aerosol that is inhaled.

An important question to ask ourselves is “should we be worried about vaping?”

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Posted in Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs, Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teen Brain, Transition to High School | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Keeping calm and carrying on for mental health

Woman sitting alone, deep in thought, having coffee and holding her mobile phoneAt work, in our kitchen, is a poster with words of inspiration – apparently. I however, have tried to purposefully avoid reading it, until the other day when I sat down for a meeting and it was right in front of me.

I am not sure what to think about this wall art.  Honestly, I find these messages unrealistic.  I also think they create pressure for us to be perfect. Continue reading

Posted in Babies, Depression & Anxiety After Birth, Depression & Anxiety During Pregnancy, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Parenting Your Toddler & Preschooler, Pregnancy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What you need to know for school zone safety

displeased stressed female car driver

I am a rule follower. Ask anyone who knows me. Rules bring order to life. When everyone follows the rules then things run more smoothly. Simple, right?

This is probably why my attempts to drop my children off in the designated school drop off zone result in feelings of anger, frustration and sky-rocketing blood pressure all before my day has really begun. The rules are not being followed. Continue reading

Posted in Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Teens and screens: the science you need to know

Teen girl on bed, looking at cell phone with headphones on while doing homeworkOver the last few decades, devices have become such a large part of our lives and one thing we can be sure of – they’re not going away.  64% of Ontario youth “spend three hours or more per day of screen time in their free time”.

There’s a lot of talk in the media about screen-time changing our children’s brains and affecting their health. So is there really any basis to screen-time being harmful?  I decided to investigate the science behind what happens in our kids’ brains and bodies when they try to meet the high demands of their devices. Continue reading

Posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teen Brain, Teens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

How to get your teens moving: Hoodwink or clever parenting?

Think about how much you and your kids are active in relation to how much you sit.  Humans were not made to sit, they were made to move. Muscles need to be worked, blood needs to be circulated, lungs challenged and bones to bear weight.

Girl walking with dog in nature.

Being active is the single best prescription a doctor could give.  It guards against chronic disease, elevates mood and keeps the body operating like a finely tuned machine. Continue reading

Posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Teen, Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment