Home // Blog Articles // Mental Health // How to kick winter blues in the butt on their way out the door

How to kick winter blues in the butt on their way out the door

by | Feb 11, 2020 | Mental Health

Like grizzly bears, Canadian guys are known to hibernate in caves (man caves, that is). Unlike grizzlies, this downtime doesn’t last all winter long.

But human hibernation can last longer than it should. Just ask Nathan Grundy. A couple years back, the thirtysomething office worker holed himself up in his Toronto apartment for three days when his winter blues took a turn for the worse. He was feeling so down that he didn’t want to see anyone — not even his friends and family — and hadn’t been able to work for a month. Thankfully, Nathan was able to bounce back — read his full story here — with these easy tips that any guy can use to beat winter blues:

Little wins…for the win!

Every morning, Nathan writes down three “little wins” he wants to accomplish that day, be it at work or in his spare time. “Before, my to-do lists were daunting because there was too much on them. I’d get a few things done, but end up feeling like a failure. Now, I keep my daily list to a max of three. Earning those little wins means my day was successful. Anything I get done beyond that is a bonus, or I can use the leftover time to do something I enjoy.”

And if that means retiring to his man cave, so be it!

Other little wins can also add up to big accomplishments. Swapping fries for salad at lunch, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work, can help you lose weight and get fit. Practising deep breathing, and drinking more water, can help you quit smoking. Cutting out coffee after noon can help you sleep better. Start with one win, and by making it a habit some big-time benefits are bound to follow.

Set the tone

Like many guys, “the first thing I have to do every morning is take the dog out,” Nathan says. “That fresh air and movement, as well as Winnie’s excitement, gets the day started in a positive way. It’s infectious. You meet other people along the way, and you get to enjoy the canine enthusiasm together.”

Whether walking Winnie or hitting the gym early, Nathan uses morning exercise to get his day started on the right foot. “Getting the blood flowing feels good, which leads to feeling good when you go into work, and then the positive vibe snowballs from there.”

Think you can’t fit a little exercise into your busy mornings? Think again! From shovelling snow to walking the kids to school, exercise can take many convenient forms. Walking briskly for 30 minutes is a legit form of exercise — it burns around 250 calories — with guys who walk five city blocks in a day lowering their risk of heart attack by 25 percent. On that note…

Dog it

It’s true: Rover can help with much more than adorable YouTube videos. Research suggests that compared to people who don’t have dogs, the heart rate and blood pressure of dog owners is steadier, and moderates more quickly, during times of stress. This reduces the negative effects of stress on your mind and body.

A new British study also suggests that owning dogs can strongly affect how much people exercise. The dog owners who took part were about four times more likely than other people to walk for at least 150 minutes each week. In fact, dog owners spent nearly 300 minutes each week walking with their dogs, which was about 200 more minutes of walking per week than people without dogs.

Man’s best friend indeed!

Look for positives

“Why waste energy on negative things?” Nathan asks. Instead, he suggests focusing on the positives in your life: friends, family, movies, music, sports, activities you enjoy, and yes, your four-legged friends.

What do you like best about winter? Share your snow-day ritual in the comments below!

If you’re thinking about fitting easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.

Download “The 10 Minute Man Workout” ebook right now.

Adam Bisby
Adam Bisby

Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.

Do You Like This Blog?

As a national charity, we depend on your donations to provide our services to Canadians. Every contribution counts.

Your Donations Make a Difference

Donate

Your contribution will further men’s health programming, tool development, and research.

Don’t Change Much is a movement inspiring men and their families to lead healthier lives. With reliable information and easy tips, we know every guy and their family can make small changes that will have a big impact on their health.

More From

Mental Health

3 Life Hacks All Dads Need to Know

3 Life Hacks All Dads Need to Know

It’s tough juggling work and family on a good day — let alone taking care of our health — and champion triathlete Simon Whitfield can relate more than you’d think. These days, as a business owner and father, Simon joins millions of other guys in a different kind of...

COVID Hair? How to Cut Your Own Hair: Men’s Survival Guide

COVID Hair? How to Cut Your Own Hair: Men’s Survival Guide

What do men talk about at home these days? Sports, news, hunting? COVID hair? There’s nothing worse for your self-image than finding oneself in desperate need of a haircut with no place to go due to COVID-19 lockdown. Tempted to take out the ol’ weed whacker and have...

Tackling COVID-induced Grocery Shopping Anxiety with Kindness

Tackling COVID-induced Grocery Shopping Anxiety with Kindness

Social distancing amid the COVID-19 pandemic is creating some elevated stress and anxiety for many, even in menial chores like grocery shopping. In one jarring hour, I experience thoughts of hyperawareness in the new COVID reality and turn to kindness to cope. My...

How to conquer cabin fever while you’re holed up in your castle

How to conquer cabin fever while you’re holed up in your castle

We all love quality time with family, but QUANTITY time with family can be another story! Staying home for weeks on end during the COVID-19 pandemic can make you stressed out, restless and impatient. Speaking of impatience, working from home with the kids around is...

Let’s Talk!

Did you enjoy this article? Let us know in the comments.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our comments are moderated and are made live after they’ve been reviewed. If you disagree with anything in the article or comments please do let us know, but be polite so we can have a constructive discussion where everyone has the opportunity to learn.

Pin It on Pinterest