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January blues: Checking in with our mental health

By Cristina Paolozzi, January 23 2020—

January — the holidays are over, school and work starts up again and the cold weather is no longer justified or welcomed now that the festive decorations are mostly taken down. This is the time of the year where the weather starts to turn exceptionally bad, and the bitterness of winter that every Canadian dreads comes to life. This cold and barren time of the year can often lead to a type of seasonal depression known as the “January Blues.” While there are many articles that debate whether or not this term is accurate when discussing how distressed individuals might be in relation to the weather, it is not uncommon to notice your mood dip or your motivation falter. This is the home-stretch — that awkward part of the year where all you do is slowly wait for the spring winds to roll in. 

To the outlets that do recognize the term, “January Blues” or “Winter Blues” are known by therapist Rosemary Sword as feeling a “lull in positivity.” After the rush and excitement of the holiday season, picking up the routine of your daily life can feel unspecial and leave you bored with the mundane task of reorganizing a balanced schedule. However, to the outlets that don’t believe in the power of the January Blues, there are statistics claiming that it is not scientifically sound, and that it was a clever way for companies to sell their latest feel-good products or to predict when individuals would be most likely to buy a trip to Mexico. 

The January Blues might be a very real thing that individuals experience after the holidays. It also might be a placebo effect promoted by certain companies in order for you to buy more products. Whatever the case may be, there is no denying that the winter months can be a difficult time for individuals, especially concerning their mental health. Dark and gloomy skies can get old fast and it is important to remember friends and family during this time — especially since the past couple of months were probably spent busy with the people you are close with. It never hurts to check up on people every once in a while, even if it’s a short text or a random meme. It is also important to take care of yourself and your own mental health. Knowing how you function and whether or not these blues actually do impact you is half the battle. Making sure you’re aware of the counselling services available on and off campus — I recommend the Calgary Counselling Centre for a facility located off-campus — is a great resource to keep in the back of your mind. 

Being a student has its challenges, especially during those cold winter months. However, whether the January Blues are fake or not, being aware of your habits and keeping in mind your mental health is never a bad thing to remember.    

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