(Black Press Media photo)

Shortened daylight in B.C. can put damper on mental health

Canadian Mental Health Association says 2%-3% of British Columbians get seasonal affective disorder

It’s not unusual to find your mood matching the gloomy weather this time of year, but what exactly causes those blues and how can you conquer them?

Feeling low might seem like it coincides with the cold and wet weather, but researchers have found it actually has more to do with the shortened daylight between mid-October to the end of February, said Sarah Hamid-Balma, director of mental health promotion with the B.C. branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

“About two to three per cent of British Columbians might have … seasonal depression. Another 15 per cent or so feel what we call the winter blahs,” Hamid-Balma said.

A dip in mood could stem from a number of things, she said, but the darkness especially affects people’s motivation to get out and socialize.

“Things like daylight and how hot or cold it is, that might affect how easy it is for us to exercise or our willingness to leave home and see friends. Cold and dark and rainy days can make both of those things really hard.”

She recommends “winterizing” your mental health, just like you would with your car, by eating well, getting plenty of rest and finding ways to exercise indoors.

“We tend to think of these things for our physical health. We don’t realize just how important they are to our mental well being.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association also recommends trying to get as much exposure to natural light as possible, whether by sitting near a window or taking a walk during a lunch break.

“Even if it’s slightly cloudy, getting some extra sunlight is good.”

If things are getting worse, Hamid-Balma said it’s important not to diagnose yourself but to make an appointment with a doctor.

Other resources include bounceback.bc.ca and heretohelp.ca, which both focus on mental health issues including seasonal affective disorder.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Young Grand Forks angler wins top B.C. fishing award

Nine-year-old Noah Dalla Lana was honoured at this year’s BC Wildlife Federation Gala

Kaslo bus fueled by vegetable oil to begin service next month

Mountain Man Mike’s will run routes to Vancouver and eventually Edmonton

Grand Forks woman lays wreath at grave of local soldier buried in England

Cpl. Alfred Gyde Heaven lied about his age to enlist in the Canadian army in 1916

The quirks and perks of living in England

From Grand Forks to Great Britain: Kalyeena Makortoff on becoming a U.K. permanent resident.

One year later, I know we’ll be okay

‘Collectively, we can’t afford to be complacent, nor can we afford for our leaders to be.’

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read