(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

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

COVID-19: Victoria moves homeless into 35 hotel rooms across the city

Mayor pleads with residents to stay inside during pandemic

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

Wheelchair user asks people to leave space on sidewalks to socially distance

Wendy Cox says many people are not stepping off the sidewalk to allow her space

Victoria street nurse thanks public for outpouring of donations

Businesses and individuals donated gloves, masks, sanitizers and more to frontline workers

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Most Read