Brutal winter leading to feelings of anxiety, injustice

Psychologist says snow, ice also lead to a kind of claustrophobia

It's the winter that seems like it may never end. A season of stubborn snow piles, ice-coated sidewalks, bitter cold and biting wind.

If you've been blaming the punishing winter for your being blue or feeling lazy, you're on to something.

Psychologist Dr Oren Amitay tells Newstalk 1010 the human body is wired to slow down through the colder months to conserve energy.

He says that slowed-down programming makes us more likely to stay on the couch, less likely to go out and exercise. "That has a large effect because aerobic exercises are one of the best cures for depression or depressed states", says Amitay.

He says looking out your window to see a build up snow can create a sense of claustrophobia. That produces a sense of isolation, making you less likely to hang out with friends or members of your family.

Amitay stresses that humans are social animals who need the support of others to get through what can be a challenging period.

He recommends booking face time with someone whose company you enjoy, to break up your week and to give you something to look forward to. It doesn't have to be complicated, an hour-long meet-up for coffee, even an online video chat. The process of planning something a few weeks or months away, like a trip, can also distract you.

Amitay says this winter in particular, the cold is breeding feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, a loss of control and a sense of injustice among his patients and a lot of other Torontonians.

"Especially those whose power outages with the big blackout lasted longer than most other people. It's what makes it feel more like 'oh my god, why is it happening to me'.

Spring arrives March 20th.

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  1. Teacher posted on 02/28/2014 06:45 AM
    Oh, suck it up comrades. Work hard so the tax dollars keep pouring in. We all need to work together to get through this.

    I deal with this cold winter by beating the traffic home at 3.10pm, taking every second Friday off to sleep in, and looking forward to a long warm summer off where I will spend my days relaxing in the sun at my lake front luxury cottage.
  2. Barbara burton posted on 02/28/2014 07:32 AM
    I try to get some relief by getting out in the car. I have injured my ankle and have difficulty walking. I am finding this winter particularly bad as far as feeling blue & find as it goes on, it gets worse. Anyway as one person said "suck it up" I could be worse. Bring on spring!
  3. DavidW_8846 posted on 02/28/2014 09:24 AM
    It's winter, were Canadians, that's life.
  4. HP posted on 02/28/2014 09:36 AM
    Canada has only two seasons...Winter and July. I'm hearing that the ski places are having a tough winter, though. Lots of snow but no one get to the hills, the few that do find it too cold to ski. Weird winter, this year.
    1. Angry Bill posted on 02/28/2014 09:46 AM
      @HP Winter and construction. How can you forget construction season?
  5. Greg posted on 02/28/2014 10:12 AM
    Baaaahhh...Just a good old fashioned Canadian winter. Reminds me of when I was a boy and the drifts used to go up to the roof. Think of it as paying your dues for a long hot summer!
  6. Frankie posted on 02/28/2014 10:59 AM
    Imagine how boring life would be without winter. Bring it on!

    As to anxiety and injustice I believe Dr. Amitay may have been referring to the Ontario Liberals who are guilty of invoking those feelings in all of us.
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