It’s Jan. 21 and it’s been about three weeks since Christmas. It’s cold, the bills from Christmas have started rolling in and you feel a tasteless, blue feeling coming on.
This day is referred to as “Blue Monday.” Blue Monday however is a completely different thing from S.A.D.
According to The Mental Health Association of Canada, the term “Blue Monday” was actually an expression made up by the travel industry to encourage people to book vacation packages to the sunny destinations to help alleviate S.A.D.
The Blue Monday feeling may just be a phase that most people get around this time of year and once the days start to get longer, people usually start to feel more normal again.
Heather McFarland is a Mental Health specialist for CAMH in Toronto who says there is a spike in people seeking help around this time of year for S.A.D as well as depression. “We have a lot of services to help people who are referred to us from their physicians including further medical treatment if needed, counselling, psychiatric treatment or even just light therapy.”
S.A.D is a condition that affects millions of Canadians from the affects of winter and not having enough daylight. This is also referred to as S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) a disorder than millions of Canadians suffer from each year as stated by the Canadian Mental Health Association. Some of the symptoms include tiredness, loss of appetite, disinterest in hobbies, activities and friends.
Mona Deni is a student who says she suffers from S.A.D. but gets regular counselling from her student counselling services. She also tries Yoga at least once a week because it helps put her in a positive and more relaxed mind frame and it keeps her healthy.
Light therapy is another option for people suffering from S.A.D. that can be purchased from some retail stores. Also another option is to exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet and keep your social life active.
For some people, the answer is pretty simple.
Parent Joe Vasche says, “It’s good to try to enjoy some of the winter activities outside to shake the winter blues. We try to go skating, tobogganing or snowshoeing when it’s wintertime to remain active and keep family time important.”
“Being active in your community is also a great thing or even trying a new hobby such as art or music lessons,” McFarland says. “This is a way to keep the brain stimulated as well as your social life.”
If you’re a student suffering from S.A.D. or even just a mild depression, it’s best to get help from your student counselling centre. These people are here to help and can give you further information on where to go if further treatment is needed if counselling isn’t enough. Sometimes just talking about it to a friend, teacher or family member can help.