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Here's how to cope if you're feeling down this Blue Monday

The third Monday of January is known by many as ‘Blue Monday’ – a date considered by some to be the most depressing day of the year.

“It kind of became that urban myth that this is the saddest day of the year,” Phyllis O’Connor, the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Saskatchewan branch, said.

“It’s not really true, but there are a lot of things that do affect people this time of year.”

Winter temperatures, limited daylight and the low after a busy holiday season are just some of the factors experts say contribute to feeling down during January.

This year, the heightened cost of living is also playing a role.

“Look at what has happened to the prices of everything. People are feeling the pinch,” O’Connor said.

“A lot of people this January are struggling with the whole security thing. With prices going up, it’s ‘am I going to be able to feed my family? If there’s a recession, am I going to be able to keep my job?’ There’s a lot of things that are anxiety producing.”

O’Connor said now would be a good time for anyone experiencing financial stress to reach out to advisors or experts to lock down a budget.

Dr. Marnie Rogers-De Jong, a psychologist and owner of Navigations Psychology, said symptoms like decreased energy or motivation, irritability, change in appetite or sleep, difficulty concentrating and negative thoughts are all symptoms that may indicate depression.

There are some tips she suggested to avoid the lows.

“Making sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating and moving your body in ways the feel good, getting outdoors when the weather is nice and connecting with other people,” Dr. Rogers-De Jong said.

She said it’s a good idea to check in with a family doctor to rule out any health concerns, like a Vitamin D deficiency, before reaching out to a mental health professional.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Blue Monday all started as a marketing plot.

“Blue Monday is actually a marketing idea that was started by a travel company in the British Isles. They wanted folks to take trips and stimulate the travel industry,” Dr. Michael Mak with CAMH said.

“On the other hand, what is very real is seasonal affective disorder.”

The CAMH defines seasonal affective disorder as a type of depression that usually happens in the fall or winter. Top Stories

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