Winter can be a difficult season for many people. It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s wet and windy. Some may find they feel more down during this time of year. So, how can you break out of this seasonal funk without breaking the bank?

Here are a few low-cost ideas to lift your spirits this winter:

Delight the senses
Whether it’s a warm mug of herbal tea on your lips, the feel of your pet’s soft fur between your fingers or the smell of your favourite homecooked meal, try taking a few minutes each day to appreciate small joys and engage your physical senses. This mindfulness practice – which uses things already around you – can help you feel more grounded and ready to take on the day.

Join a book club – or another meet-up
Reading offers an immersive world, and a book club can help you commit to reading regularly, expose you to new stories and provide all-important social time. Though social interaction may be tempting to avoid when you feel low, it can do a lot for your mental health to be around supportive people you trust. Borrow your picks from the local library (or their e-book app) to help keep costs low. If reading isn’t your thing, consider a weekly or monthly meet-up to learn a new skill, practise a sport together or do an activity like volunteering, cooking or crafting.

Embrace the outdoors
As the old saying goes, “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.” Check the forecast, bundle up accordingly and get outside during daylight hours, when you can, by visiting a local park, exploring a nature trail or simply taking a walk around your neighbourhood. Movement and exposure to sunshine can be good for seasonal depression, and spending time outdoors will lift your mood – without spending money.

Reach out for free mental health support
You may find that the “winter blues” are having a bigger impact on your life than you thought. If you’re having feelings of depression that are long-lasting or negatively impacting your every day, know there is help. Free, confidential mental health resources are available at anytime, from anywhere in Canada. Learn more about available supports at