With seasonal blues lingering at this time of the year, we asked community members in the southeast what they do to improve their mental health. From crafting to lighting candles, here’s how they find joy and take care of themselves. 

Dayna spends her time outdoors and takes in what nature has to offer.  

"I like to go hiking to improve my mental health because just being out in nature, being away from everybody, being with the animals and the quietness of hearing all the snow falling and the leaves, it's just wonderful. It's nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just have the common fact of the nature around you.”  

Laurie says that a nap and Starbucks never fail to turn her day around. 

“Things that I do to improve my mental health would be taking a nap. It's very true what they say about wishing that we could cash in all those naps that we didn't take as toddlers. When all else fails, I would say going to Starbucks. I don't know why. It's just science, but Starbucks improves your mental health. All you got to do is get there, get your nap in and it should be a good day." 

Kyra’s activity can be summed up in two words: more goats.  

“What I do to improve my mental health is buy more goats because you can never be sad when you have a pile of goats.”  

For others, music uplifts them, and that’s how Cheryle finds happiness. Best believe she never misses a beat. 

“One of the things I like to do to instantly improve my mental health is blast music. One of my favourite songs, as weird as it may sound, is Taylor Swift's “Shake It Off.” Blast that full volume and instant mood improvement.”  

Unleashing inner creativity is what Mandy does.  

“I find that when I'm really stressed or anxious or just need to kind of change my overall perspective, crafting and creating is a really big way that I do that. I find by kind of losing myself in a project being created activates this whole different part of your brain and it just makes you feel so much better. Plus, on top of it all, as someone who also deals with depression issues, when you've made something, it makes you feel really productive and really proud of yourself.” 

For Esther, it’s staying active and discovering new finds at the thrift store.  

“I work out three to four times a week at home with free workouts on YouTube. I also love to go thrifting and check out the stuff that people donate and often walk out with some great treasures.”   

Finally, Samantha gets into a relaxing and spa-like zone.  

“Running a hot bath with some bubbles and lighting a few candles. I find that's something that can put you into relaxed mode pretty quick.”  

With files from Carly Koop.