Fraser Health encourages people who might feel symptoms of depression to seek help from a mental health professional. (Ryan Melaugh – Flickr)

Fraser Health encourages people who might feel symptoms of depression to seek help from a mental health professional. (Ryan Melaugh – Flickr)

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

The third Monday in January is commonly known as Blue Monday, allegedly the most depressing day of the year.

So what are the “winter blues” and how can one conquer them?

Janel Casey, the head of psychiatry at Royal Columbian Hospital believes there are multiple factors that play a role in seasonal depression.

“I think the winter is a hard time of year for people because of the lack of sunlight, the shorter days [and] the cold weather,” she explained. “Also, January might be a little bit more difficult time for people coming off the high from Christmas [and] having to go back to work and school.”

READ MORE: Alzheimer’s Awareness Campaign hopes to reduce stigma around dementia

But the “blues” are quite common, she noted.

“Seasonal affective disorder is really a sub-type of depression that has a seasonal pattern,” Casey explained. “The theory of this is that it is caused by the lack of sunlight, and this maybe creates a hormonal imbalance.”

So how can it be treated?

Self care is important, according to Casey. She recommends a balanced diet, and to avoid hibernating at home during the winter.

It is important to maximize sunlight exposure, even if it just means keeping the curtains open during the day, she said.

Also, Casey recommends a type of light therapy for seasonal depression.

“[It’s] a florescent light box and if you sit in front of it for about 30 minutes every morning then it can also prevent and help treat more of a seasonal pattern depression,” she said.

READ MORE: B.C. residents are Canada’s top drinkers, but few know it can cause cancer: Fraser Health

However, people should recognize when they require professional help.

“Seasonal affective disorder, or season depression, is still a type of depression, so for more serious depression you should definitely see a mental health professional… just don’t want people to take it likely, to recognize it can still be a serious form of depression,” she explained.

Those seeking assistance are encouraged to call the Fraser Health Crisis Line at 604-951-8851.

“We really encourage people to get help, year around… we want people to be aware year-round,” Casey concluded.


@JotiGrewal_
joti.grewal@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students from AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni write anti-bullying messages and draw colourful chalk art around their school for national anti-bullying Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 24, 2021. (PHOTO COURTESY LISA ARBANAS)
Chalk art brightens public walkway on Pink Shirt Day

Students from AW Neill Elementary in Port Alberni write messages of hope

Mary Mason of Owls Path Foundation presents plans for a Nuu-chah-nulth Cultural Centre to Port Alberni city council. The structure pictured in this image is the Copenhagen Opera House. (SCREENSHOT)
Nuu-chah-nulth cultural centre pitched for Port Alberni

Three possible locations put forward for multi-million-dollar centre

An endangered Vancouver Island marmot suns itself on rocks at Mount Washington, near the Comox Valley. Learn more about this endangered species with the Alberni Valley Nature Club. (PHOTO COURTESY SANDY MCRUER, AV NATURE CLUB)
Marmots, underwater mysteries part of Alberni Valley Nature Club lineup

Club kicks off membership drive with series of Zoom chats

The current exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre. The art gallery has COVID-19 protective measures in place. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre puts out a call to artists

Port Alberni’s Community Arts Council will hold a pandemic-inspired art exhibit

Staff and students at Shelter Farm work in a greenhouse during the last growing season. The farm has wrapped up for winter and is setting its sights on expansion of programs for spring. (PHOTO COURTESY GUY LANGLOIS, SHELTER FARM)
Port Alberni Shelter Farm grows with the seasons

Food production, processing the next step

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Regional District of Nanaimo’s board is forwarding a motion on illegal dumping to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting. (Kane Blake photo)
Island communities asked to join forces in seeking help fighting illegal dumping

RDN resolution to be forwarded to Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Protestors against old growth logging gather in front of the courthouse in Victoria on Thursday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Protesters gather at Victoria courthouse to oppose Port Renfrew logging

Logging company seeks injunction to remove blockades near its Port Renfrew operation

Most Read