15 activities to help you Happy Better this holiday season

This post was written by ParticipAction in Family, Fitness, Health & Wellness, Mental Health, Outdoors, Parenting, Play
Mother and child playing in the snow

For a season that revolves around delicious treats, gifts and good times, the winter holidays are too often synonymous with stress and busyness. This year has added on a whole new layer of challenges, but that’s OK! With physical activity in your back pocket, there are still plenty of ways to stay happy and healthy during the festive weeks.

Research shows the “holiday blues” are a very real thing, affecting between two and three percent of all Canadians in their lifetime. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression brought on by the change in seasons, which can get more intense during the holidays.

Just take a deep breath and remember: there is something you can always do that’s within your control to Happy Better and help you rise up and overcome holiday blahs. That “something” is physical activity.

Getting your heart pumping allows for the release of feel-good chemicals within your brain that will naturally boost your mood and make you feel happier. Prioritizing physical activity during the holidays can be a great way to get some of that much-needed ‘me-time’ that can work wonders on your physical and mental health. Feeling anxious? Move your body.

Indoors or out, get moving this holiday season

As much as we all love cozying inside for endless hours of festive movies and delicious treats, getting active during the holidays is a fun way to reconnect with Mother Nature and soak up all the sweet benefits of outdoor activity. The natural light and fresh air help your nervous system relax, your blood pressure lower, your mood improve, and leave you less stressed and anxious.

Don’t forget, regardless of how cold it gets, adults need 150 minutes of heart-pumping physical activity each and every week, while children and youth require 60 minutes each day. So, grab the kids, your partner or even a furry friend and try some fun winter activities to get those active minutes up.

To help Canadians move more and Happy Better this holiday season, we’ve put together two short lists of activities that can help you and your family stay moving. One for outdoor activity and one, just in case, for when Mother Nature doesn’t feel like cooperating:

Enjoy the great outdoors

  • Build a snowperson or fort
  • Sledding/tobogganing or tubing
  • Make snow angels
  • Skating
  • Cross-country skiing or snowshoeing
  • Shovel snow (even help out a neighbour)
  • Walking, hiking or jogging

Get moving indoors

  • Pilates or yoga
  • Have a dance party (hello, holiday playlist!)
  • Tai chi
  • Mini-stick hockey tournament
  • At-home Olympics (use what you already have around for equipment)
  • Online group fitness activities
  • Exergaming (virtual bowling, anyone?)

It’s completely normal to feel anxious or stressed out during this time of year – but don’t get discouraged, get moving instead for a natural pick-me-up of positive energy.

You might not hear physical activity mentioned all that often in holiday carols or cards, but rest assured, it can be just as effective as jingle bells and sleigh rides when it comes to making spirits bright.

Posted with permission from ParticipACTION. Read more of their blogs here.


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