With fewer daylight hours and being stuck inside more often during the winter months, many people notice a change in their moods and energy levels.

Raven Daer, Outreach Coordinator with Envision Counselling and Support Centre in Weyburn, explained what seasonal depression, sometimes referred to as seasonal affective disorder, is, and what it's caused by.

"Seasonal depression, sometimes also called seasonal affective disorder, is a type of depression as the name would suggest, and it is typically triggered by a change in the seasons, and it most commonly begins in the late fall or early winter, although sometimes people do actually experience it in the summer months as well." 

Wondering what some of the symptoms might be and who is more susceptible to it?

"Some potential symptoms could be extreme feelings of sadness, lack of energy, loss of interest in the usual activities that you engage in, oversleeping, weight gain, and those sorts of things."

"Those that have other mood disorders, some depressive disorders, and other mental health issues are definitely more susceptible to experiencing this seasonal affective disorder."

Daer explained some of the causes and ways of treating seasonal depression.

"Well, I know that a lot of people have linked vitamin D deficiency to seasonal depression, which is absolutely a known fact. Getting a boost from that vitamin D that we typically get from the sunshine, so ensuring that you're getting a little bit more of that vitamin D during these darker months, as well as still going outside because daylight is still going to help to improve those symptoms."

She added that eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, and seeking out supports and being willing to accept those supports, is important too.

She explained how to recognize if your seasonal depression is becoming a more serious form of depression.

"If it is typically something that is kind of prohibiting you from fulfilling your daily activities and going about your life in a way that you normally would. If you're not just feeling sad for a little bit, but if it is really becoming detrimental to your mental health and impactful in your life, then potentially you are maybe experiencing a little bit more of a serious depression, versus just that in relation to the seasonal affective disorder."

She said that "about 15 percent of Canadians will experience seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression in their lifetime, but about two to three percent of Canadians will actually experience it in a more severe form."

Daer added that if you're struggling a little bit and need some extra support, Envision Counselling is a great resource. As well, you can always contact your healthcare provider, Healthline at 811, and/or your nearest emergency room, which is open 24 hours a day.