With mental health in mind, we’re excited to launch a six-part series that will share ways that you can support local small businesses in Toronto, while also supporting yourself and your loved ones. 

A few weeks ago, a post was being widely shared on social media titled “How to hack happiness chemicals”. Originating from a Suicide Awareness and Prevention community page, it showed easy ways to access natural highs, or produce and release feel-good hormones like serotonin or endorphins, through everyday activities like exercise, connecting with a friend, or getting outside to feel sunshine on your face. 

Inspired by this chart, we decided to create a series of guides to support local businesses that are loaded with things and ideas to help spark positive feelings—in the body and the mind. Putting the guides together was a fun process and we’re excited to unveil them. But we thought we’d start with a little teaser to get you thinking about what and who can support your mental health.

To organize, we’ve broken into the following categories:


How do we quell anxious thoughts and relax? What makes us feel at ease? What gives us comfort? These are the types of questions we asked when organizing this guide.


It’s easy to feel sluggish and unmotivated after eight months of pandemic life—we’re fucking tired! So how do we lift ourselves up and get good energy flowing through our body? It starts with movement, but there are others way too, and we look forward to sharing local businesses that you can support that will help you energize. 


Everyone heals differently, but for this category we wanted to address individual healing, and collective healing. What do we put on (or in) our bodies to soothe? What do we put in our minds? Nourishment. From balms to books, there are many tools available to heal, and it’s a process that never really stops. Luckily, there are so many incredible local businesses with services and stuff that can help this lifelong process. 


Sometimes we need to escape. While this term is often associated with alcohol and drugs, there are plenty of healthy and harmless ways to escape too! This is where the arts plays a huge role, and we have lots of ideas from local publishers and independent bookstores of how to escape to the most fascinating places, but escape can also be found through nature and play.


Crafting and creating art can be a wonderful way to calm both mind and body. You move away from the repeating thoughts in your head to the task in  hand (literally). The repetitive and quiet nature of making something is often meditative, and allowing the imagination to run free can also evoke good feelings.


In this period of time where life is confined to the home, it’s hard to find any reason to get dressed and put on makeup, but sometimes pulling ourselves together is just the little mood boost we need. Lipstick will not cure depression, but it might lift you from a moment of dread. To glow is also an internal thing; what makes us shine from within? Who or what can help us glow? 

We hope that the guides introduce you to some local businesses you weren’t aware of, or maybe it will give you new ideas of how to support the neighbourhood shops you love. Of course, we also hope you find something that helps support you! 

Shedoesthecity’s Mood Boost + Support Local guides will roll out starting this weekend, and run until the end of December. Use it as a gift guide, or use it to help pull you through the COVID winter.