As we move in to Fall, it is increasingly important to acknowledge the impact of mental health and discuss strategies to promote positive mental health. World Mental Health Day 2023 just occurred on October 10, designated by the World Health Organization (WHO). The campaign is meant to raise awareness of mental health concerns and promote positive mental health ( “Good mental health is an integral part of our overall health and wellbeing.”

Preventative strategies are of utmost importance, considering how seasonal winter changes can impact our mental health. Seasonal Affective Disorder is the presence of depression with a seasonal pattern.  It is a concern more common in Canada and other northern latitudes because of the long winters and reduced sunlight. 

The Government of Canada, back in 2019, detailed various actions each of us can take to promote positive mental health.  Naturopathic doctors prioritize many of the same actions with our patients, such as:

  • Managing stress
  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy food choices


Acute stress is necessary, but chronic stress is what leads to negative changes. Chronic stress can lead to several changes in the body, like immune and digestive dysfunction, impaired heart health, or hormone levels. Acute and chronic stress can impact our energy levels, our ability to sleep, and our ability to focus. The impacts of stress can last well after the stressful event itself is gone.

Resilience is the ability of our body and mind to withstand changes in our lives. Our body’s face changes every minute of every day, making them naturally resilient. When a stressor overwhelms our body or mind’s ability to bounce back, we become less resilient to handling these changes well. Chronic stress decreases our resilience. This can lead to fatigue, mood changes, headaches, weight gain, decreased focus, insomnia…


Managing stress comprehensively involves tending to the various parts of ourselves…physical, emotional, and mental.


An example of building emotional resilience is Grounding, a technique to help us engage with what we are feeling in the moment and to ground in our body. WHO created a guide that includes grounding and other techniques:

Meditation is one such way to build mental resilience by bringing awareness to our mental experience and harnessing a point of focus. For those interested in what the science says, David Vago, Ph.D. promotes mental health and well-being through research on meditation and the brain.  Learn more here:

Building physical resilience includes both healthy eating and exercise. It also includes determining any contributing factors, so that we can make an appropriate plan. Ordering blood tests and utilizing the appropriate tools are ways to help your body deal with the stress it is facing. For some, that might require supporting digestion, others it is optimizing sleep, while others it is improving energy.  Herbal medicines and nutrients often excel here.


As a naturopathic doctor, I strive to help my patients put in place the tools to feel better now and set a foundation for future health. I work together with my patients to create a plan for them.


Dr. Shawn Peters, ND is a naturopathic doctor practicing in downtown Courtenay.

Book in a Complimentary 15-minute, no obligation appointment with Dr. Shawn to see if Naturopathic Medicine is right for you!

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