It's the third Monday of January which means it's Blue Monday.

According to Treena Peters, M.S.W., R.S.W. counsellor with Foothills Community Counselling, Blue Monday was created in 2005 when the words were used in a travel advertisement to help encourage people to travel to a warm destination to feel better from the cold, with there being no scientific evidence that today is the most depressing day of the year.

She says this time of year can be overwhelming for a number of reasons.

"Christmas has come to an end, the realization that our New Years resolutions may have been unrealistic and we have not been able to successfully follow through with them, there may be some weight gain from the holidays, people are back to work, and just overall low motivation due to cold weather and accumulated Christmas debts."

Peters has a few recommendations to help move through seasonal depression which includes focusing on the present, setting attainable realistic goals, eating healthy foods, scheduling a sleep routine, getting some sun and natural light, exercising, finding a hobby, staying connected with family and friends, and expressing gratitude.

It's important to remember depression is a real mental health issue that can happen any day, any month of the year and not just on Blue Monday.

"It's not just a feeling of being a bit down and needs to be taken seriously," explains Peters. "If someone was to find they're experiencing changes in mood or appetite and having sleep difficulties, feeling weepy, or starting to isolate themselves from family and friends for two weeks or more, they should not be afraid to reach out, share how they're feeling with family or a trusted friend, and talk to a family doctor or contact a counsellor."

Foothills Community Counselling can be reached at (403) 603-3549. Fees are based on a sliding scale with no one being turned away if they're unable to pay.

Free walk-in sessions are also offered every Wednesday from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m.

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