KAMLOOPS — Some call it Seasonal Affective Disorder, or the January Blues. Depression is a serious mental health issue, which can effect many Canadians in many different ways, but there are steps you can take to make sure the cold weather and short daylight hours don’t affect your mental well-being.
Grey skies. Piles of dirty snow. The warm glow of the holidays in the rear view mirror. These are some of the factors which can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder, which strikes people during the winter months.
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Dale Senger is a Registered Social Worker, who specializes in mental health. He says many factors can contribute to the feeling of depression.
He says one great way to improve your mental health is to get active. “Get outside, go for that walk in the snow. go to one of our nice little lakes we have around here. get that sunlight, and get the body moving, kick in those endorphins, “ Senger suggests.
That seems to be one way people cope with the shorter days and dreary weather, but it’s certainly not the only one. One resident says getting outside and enjoying winter sports is a great way to improve your mood. Another says having a dog helps put her in a better frame of mind. And of course, heading somewhere sunny can help.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, two to three percent of Canadians will experience depression brought on by seasonal factors, while another 15% will experience a milder form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Dale Senger says, if you, or someone you know is truly depressed, they may need to seek help from professionals. “Seeing a trained professional can sometimes help give you a different outlook on like,” Senger said.
If the weather, and lack of sunshine have you just a little down, getting outside can be better than any prescription, according to one resident: “Get outdoors, in all the brightness. It lifts your spirits, it really does.”
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