The third Monday of each new year is said to be the most depressing day of the year, but there are ways to get through it unscathed.
"Blue Monday is representative of a time of year that can be particularly difficult for people. We've just been through the holidays which can be enjoyable and exciting, but they can also be a really difficult time," says Terry Warburton, Clinical Director at Recovery of Hope in Winnipeg.
That paired with living in a place in which the temperature drops dramatically in the winter can intensify issues people face with their mental health.
"Living in Canada and further up North, we don't get as much sunlight. It can be harder to keep our mood up."
CMHA says that Blue Monday is not scientifically the most depressing say of the year, but it serves as a reminder of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Is Blue Monday really the most depressing day of the year? Scientifically speaking, no. What is very real, however, is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and so are the “winter blues.” Read more: https://t.co/eZan2A0uo4 #BlueMonday #WinterBlues #SAD #MentalHealth pic.twitter.com/aP43QQ8sma— CMHA National (@CMHA_NTL) January 18, 2021
These are a few of the reasons why 'Blue Monday' takes place in January, according to Warburton.
"There are things to keep in mind. Things like reaching out to people that we care about, whether it's a phone call or a zoom call."
People can combine connection with others with going outdoors even amidst the provincial restrictions.
"We can go outside with our friends, we can go walking. Getting outside is huge in terms of getting fresh air. If you can get near some nature, walking near trees and rivers. That in and of itself has a huge benefit to each of us."
Validating our mental state is another thing that can help.
"Giving ourselves permission to feel blue. Maybe we have some really good reasons to feel this way, and to give ourselves permission to grieve things that aren't going the way we want them to," says Warburton.
Talking to a mental health professional can be a step in the right direction.
"If we're feeling particularly stuck, we might want to consider reaching out a mental health practicioner who can help us to sort out some of that, somebody to talk to."
When people talk through what they are feeling rather than keeping it bottled up, there is healing in this practice, according to Warburton.
"The power of words. The power of just being able to talk about what's going on. That is one of those things that can actually help as well in addition to getting outside, exercising and eating well. There are times in our lives that we do need to reach out for that extra bit of help," she says.
Warburton encourages people who are feeling mentally low to reach out to a counselling service that works for them, and ask questions about what would be right for them.