Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues" or a seasonal funk that you have to tough out on your own. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.

Christa Daku, Executive Director at Envision Counselling mentions, "Well alot of people seem to encounter a few difficulties during the winter months. And that's typically because of the lack of sunshine that we receive. And its quite prominent throughout Canada."

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that's related to changes in season. SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year. If you're like most people with SAD, your symptoms start in the fall and continue into the winter months, decreasing your energy and making you feel moody.

"If your feeling a little bit blue, or more along the depressed side there's definitely things that can be done.I can recommend you see your family doctor, because they may recommend that you supplement with vitamins or medications. Or a mental health counselor as well."

In regards to if the weather affects you during this time Daku said, "It absolutely does and that's why we don't see this in the summer time. Because we have longer days, people are outside more experiencing the sun. I mean we go to the pool, we enjoy the sunshine. We don't have that option in the winter. And even if we are out going skiing, or walking in the winter our skin is not exposed to get that vitamin D that the sun gives. So we have to be pro-active."

She recommends taking care of yourself and getting outside as much as possible.

It's also important to know the cues for good mental health and to find constructive coping mechanisms for anyone who might be having a down day. Life is full of challenges, stresses, some very interesting and unique tasks that we all deal with and cope with. But reality is such that there are agencies, organizations and individuals that have found coping mechanisms.

Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague. In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness.

A severe illness, an accident or an emotional crisis can overwhelm us, at least temporarily, and suddenly we need help.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate assistance:
• go to the nearest hospital or
• call 911 is Estevan's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

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