(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

Just Posted

Two-vehicle collision near Castlegar sends two to hospital

The incident took place Wednesday evening near the Brilliant Bridge in Ootischenia

Security video captures Castlegar porch pirate

Man stole package from front of house in December

RCMP still investigating body found between Nelson, Castlegar

Halimi’s body was found between Nelson and Castlegar in May 2018

Castlegar Rebels come from behind to beat Nitehawks

The Rebels earned victory over the first-place Beaver Valley Nitehawks, but fell against Golden

Two big housing projects planned for Castlegar

A mix of single family and multi-family units planned

VIDEO: WHO says China virus not global health emergency

The decision came after Chinese authorities moved to lock down three cities on Thursday

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Most Read