Expired News - Weather Network study: 43 per cent of Canadians experience 'Winter Blues.' - The Weather Network
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Weather Network study: 43 per cent of Canadians experience 'Winter Blues.'

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Monday, January 19, 2015, 5:00 AM - We know. It's cold out, it's way too dark and spring is so, SO far away.

Coping with our country's legendary winters can be tough, and this is about the time many Canadians get hit with the 'Winter Blues,' that non-scientific 'blah' feeling that comes when the sheer weight of the season drives your mood down.

Just how many Canadians feel this way? 43 per cent, according to a new study commissioned by the Weather Network.

That's the proportion of Canadians who have either experienced the mood swing, or are experiencing it now, and people are more likely to feel that way if they live in Ontario (54 per cent), Manitoba (52 per cent) and British Columbia (49 per cent), with little variation between males and females.

The biggest drivers of the winter blues: Fewer daylight hours (75 per cent agreed), cold or extreme cold temperatures (72 per cent) and heavy snowfall (25 per cent). Shoveling the snow got 49 per cent of respondents down.

Other findings:

  • 71 per cent feel like they have noticeably less energy. 58 per cent are less likely to exercise.
  • 52 per cent say they're less inclined to socialize.
  • 53 per cent cope by cuddling on the couch. 38 per cent dip into comfort food, 23 per cent take a vacation or a walk outside, and 19 per cent pray for warmer weather. 
  • Only 16 per cent participate in winter sports.
  • 46 per cent have more of an appetite (50 per cent of women, 42 per cent of men)
  • 69 per cent say they sleep more (73 per cent of women, 65 per cent of men).

The survey was conducted online among 1,007 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid forum panelists. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20, with the results weighted according to education, age, gender and region.

As lousy as the season can be, Master Life Coach Bruno LoGreco says there's ways to deal with it.

“In Canada, we take great pride in enjoying all the weather Mother Nature throws our way, but for some the cold, dark days of winter can be tough to deal with,” he told The Weather Network. “The survey results show that Canadians make a direct connection between cold, snowy weather and feeling blue and, in the coldest parts of the country, this is especially true. However, no matter what type of winter weather you’re experiencing, there are simple ways to feel better.” 

LoGreco's tips:

  • Kick-start the day with physical activity. A regular exercise routine increases energy, mental and physical well-being and releases stress and anxiety. Check out your local gym for aerobics classes. If you want added excitement, try rock climbing or change up your exercise routine and challenge yourself. A fun playlist will give you extra bounce! 
  • A calm mind is a clear mind. Take 10 minutes daily and practice a mindfulness technique. Focus on breathing. Take deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling, slowly, through the mouth.  
  • Soak up the winter sunlight. Take a walk during break time and take advantage of natural sunlight even if it is cold outside. Keep curtains open and your workspace well lit.  
  • Express your creativity. You don’t need to be an artist. Creativity could be anything you enjoy doing that is effortless and enjoyable (e.g. cooking and baking, woodworking and home DIY projects, etc.). 
  • Step away from your work area and take a break during the lunch hour. It’s also a good time to replenish nutrients the brain needs to ensure you remain active and alert during the afternoon without dragging your feet. 

Check out LoGreco's website here, or follow him on Twitter @BrunoLoGreco.

And we're sorry to say, there's not quite light at the end of the tunnel, with cold weather aiming at Canada for the end of January. Watch the video below and check out expert analysis from Doug Gillham.

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