(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.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Nanaimo non-profits ask for volunteer receptionists

Nanaimo Disability Resource Centre and Volunteer Nanaimo have opportunities available

Gabriola Island artist recounts creative journey, struggles in new memoir

Tammy Hudgeon presents ‘Tender Brave Spirit: An Expressive Life Almost Missed’

City of Nanaimo takes inventory of its land for official community plan review

Report recommends high-density residential development, identifies shortage of industrial land

Neighbours corral suspected impaired driver after crash in south Nanaimo

Car went off road, hit pickup truck and retaining wall before striking house on weekend

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district considers COVID-19 lessons in planning for fall

Elementary, secondary school committees formed to plan for next school year

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

UPDATE: Vancouver Island skydiving community mourns loss of one of its own

James Smith, 34, of Victoria, dies in Nanoose Bay incident

Elizabeth May endorses Furstenau in BC Greens race

Former federal party leader backs Cowichan Valley MLA

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Most Read