Beating the winter blues: How to enhance your self-care when it’s cold and grey outside

By Melissa Nilan, Marketing and Communications

Feeling a little down these days? You may be experiencing the winter blues, a milder form of Seasonal Affective Disorder that affects your energy, appetite and mood. Upwards of 15 percent of Canadians experience the winter blues. And this year that low feeling may be compounded by anxiety around the pandemic, including ongoing social restrictions and mandates to stay indoors.

If you’re struggling, check out these tips and resources from Douglas College and beyond to help you uplift your mood and stay well mentally, emotionally and physically.

Wellness events and activities

The Virtual Health Fair Week: Wellness in a Time of Virtual Learning is happening online March 15-19. Join us for this week-long series of events focused on prioritizing and supporting your health and well-being during a time of virtual learning.

Check out our Wellness Activities page for activities you can do at home any time, from meditation to colouring, journalling and more.

Get your endorphins going by joining a virtual fitness class like yoga, circuit training or boot camp.

Connect with like-minded peers through one of the many clubs run by the DSU or by getting involved at the College through volunteer programs.

Seven students hold a yoga tree pose on mats in yoga class pre-pandemic.
Yoga class pre-pandemic; you can still get your exercise in at home with online fitness classes!

Learning Centre

School can affect your mental health, especially if you are struggling with a particular course or subject, have a lot of projects on the go or are studying for exams. The Learning Centre offers tutoring, writing assistance and advice from peer tutors to help you succeed.

Peer tutors work with you to improve your study and writing skills and can help you understand concepts you are learning in your courses. If you are not a fluent English speaker, English language tutors are available to help you with the writing, listening, reading and speaking skills you need to succeed in your courses.

You can also take workshops on a variety of academic topics, from study tips, to grammar, to improving your communication skills.

All services are online and free to Douglas College students.

Indigenous Student Services

Students who identify as Indigenous can access culturally sensitive and specific support, including one-to-one sessions with an Indigenous Student Advisor or peer mentor, advocacy, or a quiet space to study and connect with other Indigenous students. Visit our website for more details and contact information.


Counselling services at Douglas include personal, career and education counselling. These services are free and offered on Zoom. If you want to talk to someone, contact Counselling to make an appointment.

Additionally, Counselling hosts wellness workshops and group sessions each semester. Two drop-in sessions run weekly:

  • Virtual Calm, Thursdays at 7:30pm. Learn activities and exercises to help calm anxiety and improve mental resilience.
  • International Café, Mondays at 9:30am. Domestic and international students come together to talk about culture, diversity, life in Canada and more.

Visit Counselling’s webpage for the full list of all offerings and to register.

Additional mental health and wellness resources

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has created a Guide to Student Mental Health During COVID-19 with lots of helpful tips and information specifically for students.

Check out our Wellness Resources page for informative articles on mental health and well-being, and suggestions for self-care, healthy habits and more.

Here2Talk is a 24/7 confidential counselling and community referral service, free for students.

If you are experiencing a crisis or personal emergency, you can get help from community agencies, many of which are available 24 hours a day.

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