Often referred to as “the saddest day of the year”, Blue Monday is recognized annually on the third Monday of January. While the claim isn’t proven, there are several factors that can contribute to increased feelings of stress and sadness around this time. CMHA Kelowna has created a list of common causes that might make this time of year feel a little more difficult, and suggestions to help manage them.
1. Seasonal Financial Stress
Credit card statements from the holiday season, increasing utilities bills in the colder months, and overall inflation can leave money tight and stresses high.
This is an opportunity to create a monthly or annual budget–and stick to it. Many financial institutions offer budgeting apps and insights through online banking, which can help manage your finances in real time and without much extra effort.
If you’re experiencing financial hardship and concerned about your next months’ rent, you are not alone; help is available. Consider contacting CMHA Kelowna about Central Okanagan Rent Bank and other supports.
2. Limited Outdoor and Group Activities
With cold temperatures, slippery ground, and limited daylight, getting outside to stay active can be challenging or even dangerous. While turning to indoor activities like group fitness can help us keep active and stay connected in the winter months, some people may hesitate due to cold and flu season or barriers to access such as cost.
Physical activity and social connection play critical roles in mental wellness and have been proven to have significant positive impact on mental health. It’s important to prioritize both, especially at this time of year.
Why not use technology to stay active at home? Search YouTube for free videos to keep moving, like bodyweight exercises, aerobics, yoga, or dance. Many fitness studios and organizations also offer virtual classes where you can interact with instructors and participants from the comfort of your home.
To get active on a budget, try exploring your city’s activity guide or recreation centers. Programs and services offered through the city are often a more economical option than private facilities. Many gyms and fitness studios also offer free trials or New Years promotions, which can be a great way to save money, try something new, and support local small businesses.
3. Limited Daylight
Just as the Okanagan is known for its summer sunshine, it also has a reputation for grey skies in the winter months. Coupled with short daylight hours, this can leave us feeling an overall sense of sadness . While an estimated 15% of Canadians report feeling the ‘winter blues’, about 2-3% of people living in Canada will experience a severe form of this known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD.
(Source: Winter blues vs seasonal affective disorder: What’s the difference? (cmha.ca))
Try to get as much light exposure as possible (even if it’s grey outside). Open blinds and curtains in your home, turn your office chair to face the window, and try to maintain a sleep schedule that has you rising with the sun when possible. If those heavy feelings are still difficult to shake, consider talking to a healthcare provider for diagnosis, treatment, and strategies.
This time of year can feel difficult, but you don’t have to face it alone. If you feel like you might need more support, please contact us. CMHA Kelowna has programs and resources designed to help you navigate your metal health journey. For more information, visit our website or call 250-861-3644.
If you or someone you know are in immediate crisis, help is available.
Suicide Prevention & Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 988
CMHA Kelowna is happy to provide benefits options to all applicable employees. On this page you will find:
- Documents and a video that give an overview of Employee Benefits
- Documents and a video that give an overview of the Retirement Savings Plan
If you have any questions please contact your supervisor or the People & Culture Team.