Winter Health and Wellness

Winter can really take its toll on our health and wellness. The holidays are a bright spot for many, but they can also increase stress and anxiety. Body image, separation from family, and addiction issues can be harder to manage with the increase in partying and socializing.  The weather can make it more difficult for LGBTQ+ seniors to leave their residences. Cold days and early dark nights impact everyone’s desire to socialize, leading to feelings of just simple “cabin fever” to loneliness. During and post-holiday time periods can increase major issues such as depression and thoughts of suicide.

Many community organizations are closed to allow their workers to engage in personal time and self-care. While this is important, it also limits the help folks can access at a time that it may be needed the most.

What’s a Guy Into Guys To Do?!

MAX has attempted to identify as many community resources, events, and organizations that are available this time. Stay up to date with The List! (

MAX’s office will officially be closed December 25th and January 1st. From December 24th to January 3rd, our Community Support Coordinator, Joël Xavier ( has limited availability to offer assistance connecting with mental health services or resources.  

Our staff, board members, community leaders, and others have also offered their health and wellness tips for this time of year. We’ll be sharing them all throughout the end of December 2018 and into January 2019. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay updated.

The Canadian Mental Health Association has some easy general ideas everyone can follow. Entitled, “8 Tips For Mental Wellness During the Holidays,” it has some easy and practical ways to help navigate family, overindulgence, loneliness, and more. 

There are also several agencies serving free meals over the holidays for those in need. You can find The Community Information Centre of Ottawa’s list by clickinghere.

For More Serious Help:

If you are experiencing mental health distress you can reach the Distress Centre at 613-238-3311 or the Crisis Line at 613-722-6914.

There are also walk-in counselling clinics across Ottawa, courtesy of Jewish Family Services. 

For life-threatening emergencies, it’s best to call 911.

It’s also a smart idea to carry a Naloxone kit with you. This is especially important during the holiday season with increased celebrations and festivities. 

Winter Programming and Events

MAX and our allied organizations will have many great events and programming to look forward to:

MAXPress Yourself! Our monthly art-based program that meets every second Tuesday of the month from 7-9 pm. Join us on January 8th for our first session of the year.  

Behind The Scene, our monthly talk series in partnership with The Ottawa Hospital returns with guest speaker Rahim Thawer, MSW. He’ll present “Body Image: How Queer Men Can Learn to Celebrate Their Bodies”. You won’t want to miss this on Thursday, January 10th. The event starts at 6:30 pm for refreshments and mingling, and the presentation starts at 7 pm.

Now What?!, MAX Ottawa and Ottawa Senior Pride Networks’ 40+ guys into guys discussion group meets on Thursday, January 18th from 7-9 pm.

Keeping it 100, our African, Caribbean, and Black cis and trans queer guys discussion group is off in January and will return Wednesday, February 6th.

Don’t forget Capital Pride, in partnership with Canadian Heritage, is hosting Ottawa’s first ever Winter Pride as part of the Winterlude festivities! Mark your calendars for February 6-10 2019. Festive winter activities, performances, and more are being planned. For more details check out their website:

Snowblower will also return February 6-10th. For those not familiar, Snowblower is a series of community events that cater to gay, bi, queer, trans, and two-spirit guys’ holistic health and wellbeing during the winter months. Hosted by The Aids Committee of Ottawa with support from a variety of agencies including MAX Ottawa, stay tuned for more details.

MAX hopes that these ideas and suggestions can help you fight the winter blues! We look forward to serving all of our community members in 2019 and beyond.