battle the blues

How to deal with the blahs during the cold winter months.


Symptoms of the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can come back with a vengeance once the temperatures dip below freezing and sunlight is reduced to a few hours a day, but that doesn’t mean you need to hibernate all winter long. SAD is actually a strain of depression, but it doesn’t affect as many people as you think. As Sarah Hamid-Balma, director of mental health promotion for the Canadian Mental Health Association, explains, “SAD is a subtype of major depression that appears at certain times of the year,” adding that it’s also “one of the easiest to self-diagnose.” It may seem surprising, then, that only “one to three per cent of Canadians will experience SAD in their lifetime, but another 15 per cent will experience a milder form that we call the ‘winter blues’ or ‘winter blahs.’” There are a number of ways to help manage the blues, but you need to go to the doctor and get a proper diagnosis first. If you find yourself feeling down, get these areas in check to help pull yourself out of that winter slump!