Navigating Blue Monday: Activities and Resources in Waterloo Region to Boost your Mental Health

Written by: Mackenzie Ainlay, Chamber Young Professionals Committee + Philanthropic Services Specialist at Waterloo Region Community Foundation

Blue Monday, typically falling on the third Monday of January, has earned a reputation as the “most depressing day of the year.” While the science behind it is questionable, there’s no denying that the post-holiday slump, cold weather, and failed New Year’s resolutions can contribute to a collective feeling of gloom. Instead of succumbing to the January blues, let’s explore some activities and resources to improve mental health and turn Blue Monday into a day of wellbeing and resilience.

Get Outdoors:

We know it’s cold and gloomy, but being outside proves to be a simple yet profound prescription for nurturing mental health. Whether it’s a crisp walk through Victoria Park, skiing down the hills at Chicopee Ski Hill, or simply appreciating the stillness of a snow-covered landscape, getting outside provides a refreshing change of scenery that can lift your mood and alleviate the seasonal blues.

Explore Waterloo Region shares some fun outdoor activities in the region to partake in this winter.

Give Back:

Volunteering is a great way to improve your mental health. It provides a sense of purpose, social connection, and fulfillment. By contributing time and effort to meaningful causes, volunteers often experience a boost in self-esteem, a reduction in stress levels, and an enhanced mood. The act of helping others fosters a positive outlook and a sense of accomplishment, reinforcing your impact on the community.

Check out Volunteer Waterloo Region for a list of available volunteer positions around the region.

Prioritize Self-Care:

As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care can look different for everyone, but it really boils down to taking time for yourself. This could be immersing yourself in a good book, squeezing in that 20-minute work out, or making sure you get a good night’s sleep. Prioritizing self-care helps recharge your mental and emotional batteries.

If you’re looking for something new to read, try browsing through the selection at A Second Look Books.

Start a New Hobby:

Starting a new hobby introduces elements of joy, creativity, and social connection, fostering a more positive and resilient mindset. Whether you’re exploring a long-held interest or discovering something entirely new, the benefits of cultivating a hobby extend beyond the activity itself, positively influencing various aspects of your mental health.

If you need some new hobby ideas, St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market is hosting New Year / New Hobby every Saturday in January.

Seek Professional Support:

Finally, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. Therapy, counseling, or support groups can offer valuable tools and coping strategies to navigate challenging times. Here are a couple organizations in Waterloo Region offering professional support:

Camino Wellbeing + Mental Health provides tools, resources and services that help people reach their full potential as they work to achieve their best wellbeing and mental health.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Waterloo Wellington is a local branch of the nationwide organization dedicated to mental health advocacy and support. They provide a full care system for those with addictions, mental health or developmental needs.

This Blue Monday, let’s challenge the notion of it being a day of despair and instead transform it into an opportunity for self-care and mental wellbeing. Remember that you’re not alone, and support is available. Your mental health is a priority, and taking proactive steps can lead to lasting positive change.

Additional Resources and Support Services:

Health Line provides a list of mental health services and supports in Waterloo Region.

HERE 24/7 provides access to the addictions, mental health, and crisis services across Waterloo–Wellington.

Suicide Crisis Helpline is the Canadian Crisis Helpline. You can also call or text 9-8-8

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room where crisis support is available.