Getting through the winter blues

BY RYA WALFORD

Your pillow is wet, your body is numb, you feel like you’re drowning.

It feels like there’s no task harder than getting out of bed.

You lay there, thinking of all the things you have to do and the list doesn’t seem to end, so you pull the covers over your head and close your eyes.

Although mental illness can appear anytime in the year multiple studies show an increase over the winter season.

Seasonal affective disorder affects mood and behavior during the winter months (photo chronobiology.com)

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, both the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and the
Toronto Distress Centre have confirmed that there is an increase in calls through November and December, not returning to normal until late January.

“Depression feels dark and empty like no life can exist. So, with winter where it’s usually always dark and everything feels like it has died, it emphasizes the feeling on the inside. Since there isn’t a lot of sun it makes it worse. It’s hard to stay positive about life when everything around you seems dead,” says a first-year, pre-health Fanshawe student, Rochelle Salters.

The CMHA contributes stress as a factor for why someone may be feeling the blues, “the amount of stress people are under, and the duration of that stress can impact one’s mental health, especially in situations where individuals are unable to change their circumstances.”

The shorter and darker days also take a toll on mood. According to Mayo Clinic, the decrease in sunlight plays a big part in seasonal depression.

“With spending most of my time inside it makes me feel like I’m suffocating. It’s hard to find a purpose to go outside and when I do it feels dead. It just makes what I’m feeling on the inside much worse. It’s like the weather is telling me that I need to be sad at this time,” says Salters.

The CMHA has 10 tips for getting through the season blues that include; planning ahead, learning to say no and taking a breather.

You are not alone out there. Mental illness can affect anyone at any time of the year and is more common than a lot of people think.

“Statistics show that one in every five Canadians will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives.  Mental illness affects males and females, young and old, and is found in every ethno-cultural and socio-economic group,” says the CMHA.

If what you’re feeling starts to seem like too much there are options out there. Never be too afraid to ask for help.

Ways to get help on campus include:

Trafalgar Campus: book an appointment in person at the Student Services Centre, Room B104 or by phone, 905-845-9430, ext. 2557

Davis Campus: book an appointment in person at the Student Services Centre, Room B230 or by phone, 905-459-7533, ext. 5400

Hazel McCallion Campus: book an appointment in person at the Student Services Centre welcome desk or by phone, (905) 845-9430, ext. 2528

For free, after hours help contact Good2Talk at 1-866-925-5454.

In case of emergency you can contact:

Distress Centre Peel: 905-278-7208

Mobile Crisis Peel: 905-278 9036

Distress Centre Oakville: 905-849 4541

Mobile Crisis Team, Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST): 1-877-825-9011

There are also support programs and workshops offered by the Canadian Mental Health Association in Toronto.

About Rya Walford 10 Articles
Rya Walford is a second year journalism at Sheridan College. She enjoys writing about lifestyle and health&wellness. She spends her mornings analyzing her horoscope and drinking enough coffee to fuel an airplane.

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