It’s been grey and gloomy for so long in Montreal, you couldn’t be blamed for forgetting what the sun looks like.
“You feel like a bit depressed when you see the grey,” said NDG resident Joseph Morais as he walked down Monkland Ave.
If you’ve been feeling sluggish of late, having a bit more trouble getting out of bed in the morning than usual, you’re far from alone and the lack of sun could be a factor.
“You look up, you look around, it’s just very grey and a little depressing,” said Jim Connolly, the retiree admitting he’s had trouble getting up without the sun. “Now I just roll over and the cat comes and curls up with me, so I just stay in bed a bit longer.”
Karen Hetherington of the Canadian Mental Health Association has been feeling it, too.
“It’s really a downer,” she told Global News.
According to her organization, one in 50 Canadians will be diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder in their life time. The winter blues are different and much more common.
“The fact that we’ve had so much grey over the last two to three weeks can have an effect on us. It can because there’s not enough serotonin in the brain because we’re not getting enough sunshine,” Hetherington explained.
With the holidays in the rear-view mirror, winter as far as the eye can see and everyone still adjusting to the post-pandemic reality, it’s easy to feel a bit down.
“There’s nothing to drive you out of the bed, you’ve got low energy, you’re starting to feel sad and starting to ruminate about things that you thought maybe you had you had dealt with already,” she said.
Hetherington says one way to beat the blues is to plan something fun to look forward to.
“I think we have to structure our time a little bit. One of the things is anticipation of something positive. I think it is keeping contact with people, setting activities up,” she said.
Another key is doing physical activity even if you don’t feel like it. A simple walk can make a difference.
“The research is very clear on this, that if we continue to do our physical activities, we can get get beyond the the winter blues just by doing the physical activity,” Hetherington explained.
Don’t be shy to reach out for help. Hetherington recommends the Canadian Mental Health Association’s free Bounce Back program, an online resource that can connect you with counselling.