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How to beat the winter blues, according to a ‘happiness doctor’

Tackling the winter blues
A 'happiness expert' says social connectivity is one of the ways to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder. Kamil Karamali reports

The holiday parties are over and it’s back to work with no reprieve in sight. What’s more, the cold and dreary weather probably isn’t improving your mood.

It’s no wonder the third Monday of January is called “Blue Monday,” commonly known as the most depressing day of the year.

This year it falls on January 21.

READ MORE: Seasonal affective disorder — 8 ways to boost your energy this winter

“We’re not getting as much sunlight and the lack of Vitamin D can affect our mood,” said Gillian Mandich, who has dubbed herself “the happiness doctor.”

“We’re coming off the holiday season, where there are tons of parties. Often, this time of year can be less social and more lonely and it can be isolating — because it’s cold and when it’s cold people don’t want to go out as much.”

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Mandich has a doctorate in health sciences but looks into the science and practices around being happy.

READ MORE: Nyk Morrigan deals with seasonal affective disorder each winter. Here’s what it feels like

She says the key to maintaining happiness during this stretch is social connectivity.

“So especially this time of year, when we want to stay indoors, really prioritizing to make an effort to call a friend, to go out, to do things with other people, is really going to boost happiness,” said Mandich.

She adds that people usually focus more on work after the holidays, but it’s important to find a balance and make time with hobbies.

“Another fun thing to do is play or look for opportunities to do things that bring you joy.”