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Tips on maintaining mental health in -20 C weather

By Demilade Odusola, February 21, 2021—

Maintaining our mental health is extremely important and it is something we have to take very seriously. The winter weather can get very melancholic and especially when we all have to stay safe and stay at home as much as possible, not being able to see other people can leave us feeling somber. Well fear not, I am here to save the day — or at least make an attempt. I’ve come bearing tips on how to maintain your mental health when the weather dips below -20℃. 

Keep in mind I’m not a professional, but these are some tips I find helpful in relaxing and staying sane.

Drink hot chocolate and participate in the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest:

There is a hot chocolate festival happening in Calgary for the entire month of February. You can participate by stopping by at different cafes, restaurants and chocolatiers to try out and rate different hot chocolate recipes — do so safely by masking up. But, if you aren’t up for going out, you can make your own hot chocolate right at home and keep warm. For more information on the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest you can check out their website.


If you’re feeling tired and stressed, sleep might be the best way to go. A chance to sort of disconnect and get some well-deserved rest always sounds like a good idea to me. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule can get difficult, and if you have this problem, keeping a strict sleep routine can help. Avoid doing things like studying, eating or watching TV in bed, because the brain becomes conditioned to doing them and can no longer recognize that the bed is a place of rest. Going to bed at a set time and making sure that the bed is strictly a place for rest will help you readjust to a better sleeping pattern.


Working out and getting in your daily — or weekly — dose of activity is always a good way to improve your  mental well-being. It’s also helpful for maintaining your physical health simultaneously. Working out could be going on a jog, walking around your home for 15 minutes, lifting some weights if you have them or even getting into an at-home workout routine with your favourite Youtuber. Finding ways to keep your body active during the day keeps you healthy and happy.

Binge-watch SuperStore:

I know you don’t know me, but trust me when I say this is one of the best shows out there. SuperStore is a series that follows the daily lives of a group of employees working at the fictional supermarket discount store, Cloud 9. It’s bound to give you a good laugh and help you relax. If SuperStore isn’t really your thing, there’s loads of options to choose from.

Cook or bake:

If you’re like me and you love food and cooking, being stuck at home is a great time to try out new recipes. If you absolutely dread cooking or baking, it’s a great time to try it again. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that cooking isn’t so bad, or maybe you’ll hate it even more. If it goes sideways, there’s always take out.

Breakout into a random dance party:

Dancing is always fun and a random dance party is always a good idea. You can dance all by yourself in front of a mirror in your room or you can dance with friends and family or maybe even with other people on Zoom. Either way, blast your favourite song through the speakers and bust out your best moves.

Talk to someone: 

If you’ve been feeling very distraught it is important to talk to someone. It could be a friend, family member, therapist, teacher — whoever. Talking to someone or even sometimes just venting out loud into space can help you feel much better.

Catch up with friends and family:

It’s always a good idea to reach out to friends and family members you haven’t spoken to in a while. When you catch up with loved ones, you feel better and they feel better. It could be just the thing you need to keep you going.

Watch SuperStore:

It’s just that good!

Clean your environment:

Spring is just around the corner and this is the perfect opportunity to get your spring cleaning on. Give away your old clothes, take out the trash, do your laundry, clean your mirrors, do some vacuuming and get your washrooms clean. A clean environment always makes things feel fresh and this could be the fresh start you need to get things right.


I recently got into painting and it’s quite relaxing. I’m no Bob Ross or Leonardo Da Vinci, but just being able to apply some strokes onto a canvas is a good hobby to take up.

Get a plant baby:

Baby fever runs all year long and not everyone has the time commitment to take care of a human baby or even a pet, so a plant baby just makes sense. There’s still a sense of responsibility, but without the huge time commitment. Plus, you’ll get better oxygen than the rest of us.

Change your look or redecorate:

Maybe you’ve been feeling like a caterpillar stuck in a cocoon. If so, this is your go-ahead to change your look and transform into the beautiful butterfly that you are. You don’t want to do anything too drastic — or maybe you do, whatever works for you is fine. If you’re perfectly fine with your look, that’s awesome too. You could also try redecorating. Get a new centerpiece, replace old furniture, paint your room, buy fairy lights — whatever sounds good to you.

Any one of these activities, or a combination of them, are bound to help lift our spirits in this weather. If you don’t quite feel up to any of these, that’s perfectly fine too. You could take time to disconnect and just lie on your bed, couch or floor and breathe. If you would like to speak to someone, you can call the University of Calgary Campus Security at 403-220-5333 or Distress Centre at 403-266-4357 to speak to a trained volunteer 24/7.

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