When people talk about Blue Monday, they really mean Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to CMHA Kelowna. (Pixabay)

When people talk about Blue Monday, they really mean Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to CMHA Kelowna. (Pixabay)

CMHA Kelowna offers tips for managing winter blues during COVID-19

CMHA says it’s important to take care of mental well-being during these times

When the days get shorter and the skies are grey, it can make many people feel down.

Others may even fall into depression commonly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna communications manager Jessica Samuels said this period of seasonal depression can start from the beginning of fall and well into spring.

She said experts are fairly confident that SAD is triggered by the lack of light during the colder months, but studies are still trying to find out the exact cause of it.

In any case, Samuels said winter blues are real and can be managed by sleeping well, eating healthy, and monitoring alcohol intake.

“These won’t solve all the problems but if you’re not supporting your body to support your mental health, feeling better just won’t happen,” she said.

“One of the things people find difficult to do right now is getting outside… but getting outside or getting near some light is a way to help manage our mood and has been identified as a way to support SAD.”

READ MORE: Supply management key to survival of B.C. dairy industry, says Okanagan farmer

READ MORE: Kelowna’s next tallest building receives hesitant approval from council

Months of experiencing SAD can also make people feel like a January Monday could be particularly down. When people speak of Blue Monday, Samuels said they may mean they’re experiencing SAD.

Blue Monday, the third Monday in January, is an enduring urban myth that states it is the saddest day in the month.

“We always say that Blue Monday is not a thing. It’s not a thing in that there’s one day where you can say ‘this is the most depressing day of the year’,” she said.

“The idea comes from seasonal affective disorder, the low light in the colder months, and being unable to participate in activities.”

As important as it is to recognize that SAD is a real and manageable thing, Samuels emphasized that it’s important not to self-diagnose and to consult your family physician to get the proper help you need.

“You can have low mood or even be depressed during this time of the year, but it could be another form of depression stemming from something else.”

“If you’re feeling tired all the time, you’re not eating properly and you don’t want to connect with others, speak to your doctor because they can help identify if it’s SAD and the best ways to address and treat it.

“Because there may be some other elements such as counselling or medication that may be right for you.”

To learn more about SAD, how to manage it, as well as how to take care of your overall mental well-being, visit CMHA Kelowna’s website for resources.


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Healthmental health

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

Just Posted

Jean Latval (left) and Elinor Turrill. (File photos)
Lumby community pillars to be honoured with commemorative bench

GoFundMe launched to help raise $2,500 to memorialize Jean Latval and Elinor Turnil

Life and Faith columnist Jim Taylor outlines some helpful tips for a fruitful conversation. (Lexi Bainas - Gazette file)
Taylor: Guidelines for discussions

Jim Taylor says don’t rely on external authorities in conversations with others

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

Const. Kevin Fuglewicz is the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP’s newest member of its Downtown Enforcement Unit. (Vernon North Okanagan RCMP photo)
Vernon RCMP add new downtown unit member

Const. Kevin Fuglewicz joins Downtown Enforcement Unit for rural north operations

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

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

Although B.C. has not made masks mandatory in public indoor spaces, some business owners are requiring all customers to wear them before entering their store. (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
EDITORIAL: Heightened tension over face masks

Incidents of anger and conflicts over mandated masks happening too frequently

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

Most Read