You’ve probably heard the term ‘winter blues’, but have you heard about Blue Monday?
Although originally coined by a travel agency looking to make a few extra bucks in January, the third Monday of the new year is often when holiday bills come in, excitement from festivities is over, and lots of people are just feeling down in the dumps.
Candace Giesbrecht, director of people and engagement with the Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna, says the lack of sunlight through the winter plays a huge role.
“The first thing we recommend is to assess,” Giesbrecht says. “We want to encourage people to reflect on ‘how am I doing?’”
As days get shorter, darker, and colder, it’s quite common to notice a shift in mood. And while winter is unavoidable, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that can help you battle the winter blues and SAD.https://t.co/0J1E53q5KU pic.twitter.com/oNbLjMaXU5
— CMHA Kelowna (@cmhakelowna) January 16, 2023
Giesbrecht says it’s always a good idea to do a mental health check with yourself, checking your coping mechanisms and ability to bounce back when hard things come.
“I had somebody say to me once, it was a doctor, that the goal of mental health is not to be free of hard times or low mood, but the goal is to be able to, when the waves of life come, to be able to ride them rather than feel like you’re drowning.”
If you’ve been feeling low for two weeks or more and the usual mood boosters aren’t working, Giesbrecht says that is when you should find someone to talk to if you haven’t already.
“We recommend going to our website for resources. There’s a lot of great links and information there, but you may also want to talk to your doctor.”
Once you’ve done a mental health check on yourself, start checking in with those around you.
“Be present, ask people how they’re doing, and create safe opportunities for conversation.”
Giesbrecht adds that it’s important to not minimize someone else’s feelings.
“If a person is saying they’re really struggling it’s really important that we all acknowledge that this person has [spoken up]. In many cases, it takes courage for a lot of us to say that.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, visit CMHAKelowna.com for information and resources.