Squamish is no stranger to depression. Winter weather on the west coast can be the perfect storm for triggering or increasing symptoms of mental health disorders — specifically depression or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) predicts that approximately one million people in B.C. will experience a mental illness each year.
The dark Squamish days in January don’t help.
Despite its weather, our town may be the best place for your mental health.
The adventure capital of Canada is full of professional and amateur athletes who train throughout our gloomy winter.
The link between endurance exercise and mental wellness is not a new phenomenon, and many athletes understand the positive power of sport and the opportunities it provides for their physical and mental health.
The opposite of depression isn’t happiness, it’s connection.
And in Squamish, you’re in good company.
Connecting with those who make movement a regular part of their every day can be the first step to feeling better this winter.
Although formal mental health diagnosis and treatment can be complex, for some preventing mental illness may be simple. In turn, taking measures to prevent symptoms of depression can positively affect all aspects of your life.
Here are ways to make the most of Squamish this winter in order to improve your mental health:
Find local run groups.
For example, ask the Sound Runner or Capra for their weekly run group schedule.
Sign up for a class at Brennan Park.
Check out local events.
For example, Escape Route or Valhalla Pure sometimes host outdoor adventure nights.
These are great opportunities to connect with the outdoor community.
Call or visit the Squamish Adventure Centre.
They are the hub for ideas to get you moving.
Extroverting not your thing?
Go for a walk or a run outside.
Utilizing a regular walking or running practice can be used as a preventative and treatment method for alleviating symptoms of depression.
The physical challenges of a regular running practice can be a meaningful metaphor for the mental challenges faced by individuals experiencing symptoms of depression.
So, if you’re feeling blue this winter, trust that you’re in the right place with the Squamish community.
Tory Scholz is a Squamish endurance runner, educator, writer, and coach.