Mental health is an incredibly important part of maintaining your overall health and well-being.

With that in mind, we wanted to put together this list of helpful tips and mental health exercises you can to do set yourself off on the right foot in 2024.

At Parkway, we’re proud to offer clinical counselling services to people across the Westshore.

Let’s dive in.

1. Natural Light

Although at times here on the West Coast it seems as if sunshine is at a premium, there are things you can do to let in more light.

Washing windows is a good start to increase your daily dose of Vitamin D. Getting outside as much as you can is also helpful. There are many walking trails and local parks to explore all over the city.

Be sure to wear a good sunscreen with SPF 30 at least – 60 SPF is preferable if you are going to be active outside for up to one hour- yes, even in the winter. Natural light is a known natural mood booster!

2. Social Connections

Reaching out to friends, ideally in-person is a great way to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation and increase feelings of well-being and happiness.

Even a quick phone call to hear a familiar voice on the other end of the line is a good reminder that you are not alone, and the result is two-fold by the fact that the person you are speaking with is not alone either. FaceTime is especially helpful when you are not able to connect in-person, but are missing someone’s smile!

3. Try Hobbies

Re-connecting with a former hobby, or discovering a new one is another way to decrease feelings of boredom and purposelessness.

Exploring ideas at the local library is an ideal way to research and learn a new hobby without taking on additional expense at the outset (especially if you find upon reading, that the hobby is less than ideal for you).


Michelle Maxwell

Meet our clinical counselling team

Michelle brings her person-centred counselling approach to Parkway Physiotherapy & Performance Centre; following the work pioneered by Carl Rogers, very much meeting the client “where they are at” via unconditional positive regard.

4. Enjoy Self-care

The first thing to remember about self-care is that it is does not mean selfish!

Taking care of your needs as they arise rather than “blowing your top” out of sheer frustration from depletion and fatigue is a service not only to yourself but to your loved ones as well (especially if they live with you).

Things such as having a bubble bath after a stressful day, going on a brisk walk on the way home from work, having a nice meal that you did not have to prepare (take out from the grocery store deli is cost-effective and ideal) – are all ways to decrease stress and increase feelings of well-being.  The goal of self-care is to make it a regular part of your routine (guilt-free of course).

5. Freebies

Find fun for free by checking out the local events in your community.  Your town’s local website, community newspaper, and bulletin boards at the grocery store are ideal resources for seeing what is going on out there!

Swimming pools often have a free swim day, and your local library has a steady stream of classes/events/guest speakers usually at no-cost to you.  Be on the lookout for free events on signposts (lectures) and online (such as walking/hiking clubs) and open up to trying new things and meeting new people!

6. Go Easy on Yourself

The previous suggestions are just that: suggestions!

Find the one(s)that are doable for you, and leave out those that are not a fit for you personally.  Feel free to incorporate your own individualized ideas which best suit your lifestyle. The main point is to simply start!   Take action towards strengthening your resolve to decrease the winter blues.  After all, Spring directly follows Winter- so keep working on your personal wellness – you are worth it!

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