The days are short, the weather is cold, and with the holidays over for many and New Years’ resolutions starting to lose some of their initial traction, it’s not uncommon to feel blue this time of year. The third Monday of January has often been referred to as “the saddest day of the year,” and while there is no evidence behind setting this specific day apart from any others in terms of mood, Blue Monday does speak to the larger phenomenon of “winter blues,” where people tend to find they are a little gloomier, a little more tired and irritable, and they may feel the need to eat and sleep more during the winter months.
You have up until the end of the day on January 31st to complete any of the challenges, so don’t feel like you need to get your responses in or complete the activities right away. We do, however, encourage you to complete them daily, so that every day you can feel like you have accomplished something, that may seem small at the time but have monumental effects on your mental health and well-being in the long run.
“This time of year is tough for many,” explains Sara Dias, Chief Executive Officer, “Over the last few years, Covid-19 has only contributed further to the lowered mood and isolation that people experience in the winter. We now must deal with uncertainties around our health and our future, and that causes a lot of anxiety and frustration for people. While dealing with all of this, we don’t have the same capacity to turn to others for support, as we’re separated by physical distances and our social routines have been largely interrupted. It’s now more important than ever that we check in with ourselves and others and make the positive changes that are necessary to support our mental health.”
Approximately 15% of people in Canada experience the winter blues. This is separate from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a form of depression experienced by an estimated 2-3% of the population, and which can require more intensive treatment. Although both are usually brought on by the seasonal change in exposure to natural light, the depressive symptoms associated with SAD can be far more severe and persistent. Speak to a professional if you suspect you may have SAD and/or if your symptoms significantly interfere with your daily life. Though some of our strategies may help with self-management of both SAD symptoms and the winter blues, it is important to see someone who can help you decide on the most appropriate course of treatment for serious symptoms, whether that be cognitive behavioral therapy, anti-depressants, or regular use of a light therapy box, like the one we’re giving away for this contest.
This year, Pink Shirt Day falls on February 23rd. Also known as Anti-Bullying Day, people are encouraged to wear pink on the date to signify that they are against bullying. In support of the day, CMHA Kenora wants to spread the message to “Be Kind,” and will be selling T-shirts and toques leading up to Pink Shirt Day with the saying on them so that everyone can proudly show they are an advocate for kindness and inclusion.
With the COVID-19 pandemic currently acting as a barrier to social interaction and a source of fear and anxiety for many, it is especially important that we continue to promote kindness towards each other, both on Pink Shirt Day and every day!
If you would like to remind people to “Be Kind” with one of our shirts or toques, they can be purchased here on our website for pick-up from our main office. Shirts are available in adult and youth sizing. Adult shirts are $20, youth shirts are $15, and toques are $15. All proceeds go to CMHA Kenora to support the continuation of mental health services and prevention and awareness initiatives within the district.
To find additional contact information and directions to find us please click here.1 (807) 468-1838