Coping with winter a challenge for SAD sufferers in Ottawa
As many as 35 per cent of Canadians complain of having 'winter blues'
The winter months can be a difficult time for those struggling with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Symptoms of the periodic disorder include fatigue, sadness, lethargy and depression.
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"This time of year, I get a lot more calls for services," says Ottawa psychologist Laura Armstrong.
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, as many as 35 per cent of Canadians complain of having the "winter blues," while another 10 to 15 per cent have a mild form of seasonal depression.
Armstrong, who teaches at Saint Paul University, says those who struggle with SAD can experience a range of emotions when the long, dark winter months set in.
"[Sufferers] actually can be quite irritable. Other times they might just feel a sense of gloominess or feel really tired," she said.
Armstrong recommends people seek help before the season begins and their mood starts to spiral down. She also suggests getting out and doing things people find enjoyable.
"Combat [SAD] by saying this winter, here's something new that I've always wanted to do [and] I'm going to try it."
'Winters here are too long'
Golbon Moltaji came to Canada from Iran seven years ago to study. She says while she was used to experiencing winters back home, the season here is particularly hard to bear, both physically and emotionally.
"Winters here are too long," she says. "I can't have as much interactions with people as I would like to and my mood goes down. You know, it's like a vicious cycle."
Moltaji says she makes a special effort to get out and do things, including more gigs as a DJ, when winter begins in order to keep the blues away.
"I don't have my family here. Therefore I have to find ways of compensating," she says.