Did you know that February is a difficult month for many people in northern latitudes like us? According to WebMD, over eleven million people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and many of the rest of us have a less severe case of the winter blues, officially called subsyndromal SAD. Yes, winter in Canada can bring many changes to the quality of our daily experience. The days are shorter and greyer. The weather is drearier, and many people spend more time indoors. Symptoms such as low energy, irritability, and low mood are not uncommon. Sound familiar? It’s sometimes referred to as the “winter blues”.
Fortunately, the “winter blues” is not a medical diagnosis; rather, it is a common, mild reaction to the change in seasons. If any of this applies to your child (…or you!), then take heart. You are not alone! At school and in our homes, there are things we can do to help combat these February blahs. That said, they take effort, energy, and some “stick-with-it-ness”.
To begin with, movement is our friend when it comes to beating the seasonal blues. As Mr. Whitmill would remind us, when children move around throughout the school day, their concentration levels, behavior, and mood improve. As much possible, we incorporate breaks throughout the day to shake off the blues and you should, too. Kids always love to follow a short movement or dance video together, especially with their friends and teachers (remember The Macarena?). There are many on-line and dancing vids and children never seem to tire of them.
We can also change the pace of our day by switching the order of events or subjects around to keep things fresh. If we notice our students struggling to focus, we ask for a volunteer to come to the front of the class to help us demonstrate a concept. Or, we may even change the seating arrangement to diffuse “unproductive energy”. This is not rocket science. Good teachers and watchful parents do this all the time. Changing up the pace (or the route we take to work or school, for example!) can help keep the “creeping blues” at bay.
And let’s not forget that colour makes a difference. With art activities and creative classrooms, our teachers contrast the dull and gray outside with bright and colourful classrooms at Matthews Hall. Our teachers are masters at turning a blank wall into a showcase for students’ artwork and assignments. Wearing brightly-colored t-shirts on House Team days also gives winter a warm blast. Talent Shows and fun team events like the upcoming House Choir Challenge keep spirits up during a short and dreary month.
Still not convinced?
We’re looking forward to getting together once again for our annual WinterFest event! Join us for a Family Dance Party at Bellamere Winery and Event Centre and dance away those ‘winter blues’ together.
Parents and children are invited to join us on Friday, February 23, 2024 from 5:30 to 9:30 PM. The evening will consist of family-fun dancing, a DJ and games, glitter tattoos, a photo booth to take your memories home with you, a buffet-style dinner and more!
Registering your family is a great way to support Matthews Hall and to meet other families, make new friends and create fun memories with your children!
Winter Blues? Movement. Colour. Friends. Dancing. We got this.
We are kicking those blues to the curb!
Ric Anderson, Head of School