Get Outside to Combat the Winter Blues

Posted on January 27, 2023

It’s no secret that activity is good for the body and the mind, but, for some of us, by January we are longing for Spring and over the cold and snow. Before you resign yourself to the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a full line-up of bad movies to last until the end of March, ask yourself, have I fully given winter a chance? We don’t mean it’s time to take up winter running or speed skating, but there are many ways to get moving that don’t require an athlete's stamina or drive. The Canadian Mental Health Association says “recent studies show that people report more vitality, enthusiasm and pleasure after having walked outside.” Something as simple as getting out and walking a new neighbourhood to check out some of the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest locations in February could do wonders for the mood.

Hot chocolate not your thing? Experience “Light the Night: An Illuminated Night Walk” at The Currie, a free event running from now until February 12th . Only during the darker days of winter can you experience a beautiful outdoor light show and still be in bed by 10:00! If the weather turns a little too cold for you or the ice feels a little too treacherous to walk outside right now, you can still get out to move your body and feed your mind at the Glenbow’s temporary exhibit “Howie Tsui: Retainers of Anarchy,” free! (they do ask you reserve a start time so they can manage capacity in the gallery. The main building is still closed for renovations).

For those of you wanting a little more intensity in your outdoor activities, the City of Calgary maintains cross-country ski trails in the city and you can snowshoe in any park or green space in your neighbourhood. Rentals can be found in many sports rental locations across the city starting as low as $15.00 a day. If you are able, take those skis or shoes to Kananaskis or deeper in the mountains and make a day of it.  

Some of you still standing in front of that popcorn machine thinking, nah, I'm good? We see you: it’s icy, its chilly, that TV show from the 90s won’t binge itself, but can we compromise? 15 minutes of yoga, jumping jacks, cleaning the house (yes, even doing those inevitable chores counts according to the Canadian Mental Health Association) before you settle in. If you still can’t get motivated, find yourself a short exercise video from the 80s on youtube and have some fun (the 80s really did have a lot of fun). You think we’re joking? Check it out! You can see the styles and fashions change through the years and get a great workout at the same time.