February is here, and winter is still beating down on us all across Canada. The snow, slush, and cold look like they’re going to be here for another month or more. And we won’t start seeing real sunlight in the evening until spring is fully here.

For many people these factors can contribute to feelings of boredom and sadness. In fact, SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a recognized and diagnosable mental health issue that impacts as many as 100,000 people every year in Canada. We don’t want you to be one of those people, so we have some tips to get you through February and the rest of winter.

Make Plans With Friends

Staying at home alone watching TV or movies can be a great way to pass the time. But when the weather turns and the days are short it can become far too easy to make it your normal routine. Instead, make plans to hang out with your friends after school and on the weekend. Go see a movie, find an outdoor rink to skate on, get your sleds out and toboggan down a big hill, or go out in a group for dinner.

Isolating yourself can make feeling down get worse instead of better, so avoid that situation for you and your friends by hanging out even when it’s cold outside.

Get Your Exercise

We know that exercising releases endorphins, which can help to improve your mood and give you more energy. Happiness and energy are the enemies of the February Blahs. Whether you have a treadmill at home, go to a yoga class on the weekend, or join the gym and have a regular routine, the important thing is to Get Moving.

Remember to shower immediately after your exercise and use gentle cleansers and clean towels to help prevent acne breakouts all year long, including the winter.

Have Someone To Talk To

If you feel like you are suffering from feelings of depression this winter, or anytime, it is important that you have someone that you trust and can talk to. That person can be a friend, teacher, guidance counselor, or family member. The important thing isn’t who they are, but that they are someone who cares about you and you that feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with.

If you need to talk to someone but there isn’t anyone available, the Kids Help Phone is always available. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year you can call 1-800-668-6868 to speak with someone who is trained to help. You can also visit the KidsHelpPhone.ca website to find great resources that can help you or the people you care about.

Winter can be a lot of fun, but it can also wear you down. Fight back against the short days and snow banks with these tips and get yourself ready for the green grass and flowers that spring will bring us!