If you're feeling a little blue this Monday morning - you're not the only one. Today is Blue Monday and it has been called the most depressing day of the year.
"It's a combination of cold grey weather, shorter days, debt after the holidays and failed New Year's
resolutions," said Candace Giesbrecht, director of
promotion and development for the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
"These things converge in depressing ways on the third Monday of January each year."
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a major depression that's common during this time of year. The causes of SAD aren't known, but the lack of sunlight in the winter months is said to be the culprit.
About two to three per cent of people suffer from SAD in their lifetime and 13-17 per cent of people who develop SAD have an immediate family member with the disorder.
"I have in the past but this has been a great winter with the sun," said Sandra Bradshaw. The Kelowna woman has a full spectrum light that she's used in
previous winters but she hasn't used it this year.
"It helps to be busy," she said.
David Lawrence said he won't be affected by Blue Monday.
"It's going to be like every other Monday, because I believe that I'm in control of what I want to experience," he said.
Some of the symptoms of SAD include: having trouble getting a good night's sleep, gaining weight and feeling tense and stressed. The CMHA in Kelowna received more than 10,000 calls last year, and many of the calls were for mental health issues like SAD.
Giesbrecht said The CMHA recommends dealing with SAD in three steps: assessment, awareness and action. "Take a few minutes to see how you feel. If you notice that you've been feeling this way for a while, start becoming aware of your thoughts and actions. Then, the best thing to do is take action and get help if you need it."
The CMHA Kelowna branch will be offering a course to help people dealing with SAD. Living Life to the Full (LLTTF.ca) is an eight week course based on cognitive behavioural therapy that equips participants with tools to help them identify and manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The course begins on Feb. 16.
For more information, contact the CMHA Kelowna branch at 250-861-3644.