With 2019 enshrined in the history books and 2020 on the horizon, I dedicate this month’s op-ed to a review of our past year and see how the lessons we learned can be applied for the new year.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones, and like me are excited for the new decade. As the season comes to an end, however, we must take care of our mental health so we do not catch the winter blues (a.k.a. seasonal affective disorder).

The winter blues is a seasonal depression characterized by mood swings as well as a general feeling of sadness that happens right after the holiday season. It is caused by the combination of low daylight hours, low temperatures, low motivation and energy.

Unfortunately, we cannot change the daylight hours or temperatures; however, what we can change is the low level of motivation/energy and amount of debt. We need to keep the positive energy from the festival season throughout the year, and we can do this by continuing to meet family and friends, or at least messaging and checking in on one another on a regular basis.

Just because the holidays are over, does not mean we need to stop taking care of each other! We also need to control our spending and make sure that we save more.

According to Statistics Canada, there was roughly $1.79 in credit market debt for every dollar of household disposable income in the fourth quarter. There is nothing wrong with spending for our loved ones, but it is also important to budget and make sure there is enough saved for basic necessities.

I hope everyone can take some cues and memories from 2019 and make sure that 2020 turns into a year to remember. My dream for the for coming decade is best described in these words, often attributed to Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”